[ocr errors]

borrowed from mediæval, Talmudic, and modern sources; includes the famous "Paul Revere's Ride,' "The Falcon of Ser Federigo," "King Robert of Sicily," "Torquemado," etc.

1867. Published "Flower-de-Luce."

"Divine Comedy" 1867-70.

Translated Dante's

1868. Published "The New England Tragedies," a depressing poetical record of deeds of cruelty, delusion, and intolerance; Part II. of "Christus."

1868-69. Last trip to Europe, covered with honors and attentions; received LL.D. from Cambridge, and D.C.L. from Oxford; met Queen Victoria.

1871. Published "The Divine Tragedy," Part III. of "Christus."

1872. Edited "Poems of Places," in thirty-one volumes. Published "Aftermath."



Published" Morituri Salutamus," on fiftieth anniversary of his class at Bowdoin; "The Hanging of the Crane," "The Masque of Pandora."

1878. Published "Keramos," a poem in the style of Schiller's "The Bell."

1880. Published " Ultima Thule."


Published "In the Harbor."

1882. March 24: Died at Cambridge of peritonitis; buried in Mt. Auburn Cemetery; a statue has been since erected to him in Portland, and a bust of him in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey (1884). He left two sons and two daughters.


"Michael Angelo," a posthumous volume, published. 1886-90. Publication of complete edition of his poems in eleven volumes. Publication of Longfellow's "Life and Journals," edited by his brother Samuel. 1887. "Final Memorials," published by his brother; also "A Biographical Sketch," by F. H. Underwood of


§ 9. Longfellow's Poetry-Various Critical Opinions of his Mind and Art.


As one meditates upon the full exercise of his poetic gift, one is likely to feel that this beloved singer's just claim upon

the affectionate memory of after time is due to his felicitous handling of subjects, humorous or tragic, which get their rootage in American soil. Despite much culture and a cosmopolitan range of themes, Longfellow stands forth as a representative poet of our earlier period, because he drew the inspiration for his best work from motives lying ready to hand in his own country. Neither Whittier nor Holmes, neither Emerson nor Lowell, are more American in this sense.

The delightful narrative poem of "The Courtship of Miles Standish" is one of those typical creations we have in mind. It is a rendering playful, yet tender, realistic in setting, yet touched with romance, of a story from our early colonial history, in which characters, who are in danger of being names and nothing more in the hands of the formal chronicler, are brought near to us and made warm and sympathetic by means of imaginative presentation.-RICHARD BURTON.


We shall think rightly of Longfellow's poetry if we remember what it was to the American people of his time. Longfellow served to awaken and kindle the taste and feeling of the American people for what was poetic and beautiful. Not that no one in America had enjoyed poetry and beauty before Longfellow-far from that. But no one had expressed it in America as he expressed it; we had no great poets before Longfellow. Indeed, as a people, we had very little poetic appreciation. Longfellow was a sort of Apostle. He showed us much. He was a Discoverer in our behalf; a Discoverer, as I have said, of the Beautiful in life. So he was a great educator; he attuned the mind of our people to the beautiful and the ideal.

Something of the same sort is Longfellow apt to be to every one of us. We all read Longfellow early in life, often in school, before we have read much else, before we have seen much of this world that the poets write of. It is an impressionable age. Longfellow moulds our taste. He delights us, and it is from him that we learn a kind of delight different from the ordinary pleasures of life. He is simple and direct. We read his beautiful verse without difficulty; it seems natural, and we become habituated to poetic thought and to poetic form. Later in life, if we desire, we may pass from

his exquisite and gracious mood to poets of a more profound or a more passionate nature. But Longfellow never loses his place with us. He is the guide who first led us to the enchanted country, the interpreter who first made us understand its language.-EDWARD E. HALE, JR.



The poet's friends told him he must take a familiar meter, that hexameters "would never do." He found, as reported by David Machrae, that his "thoughts would run in hexameters" and declared that the measure would "take root in English soil." "It is a measure, he said, "that suits all themes. It can fly low like a swallow, and at any moment dart skyward. What fine hexameters we have in the Bible: 'Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them; and this line, 'God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.' Nothing could be grander than that!"


Over-dactylic, and therefore monotonous, as Longfellow's hexameters often are, they have the merit of being smooth to read, without analysis, like any other English verse. primary easy lilt was needed for an introduction, until, stage by stage, the popular ear should be wonted to more varied forms.

"The Courtship of Miles Standish" was an advance upon "Evangeline," so far as concerns structure and the distinct characterization of personages. A merit of the tale is the frolicsome humor here and there, lighting up the gloom that blends with our conception of the Pilgrim inclosure, and we see that comic and poetic elements are not at odds in the scheme of a bright imagination. The verse, though stronger, is more labored than that of "Evangeline"; some of the lines are prosaic, almost inadmissible.-EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN.


We hope that Mr. Longfellow may live a great many years yet, and give us a great many more books. We shall not undertake to pass a sentence which he may compel us to revise. We shall only say that he is the most popular of American poets, and that this popularity may safely be

assumed to contain in itself the elements of permanence, since it has been fairly earned, without any of that subservience to the baser tastes of the public which characterizes the quack of letters. His are laurels honorably gained and gently worn. Without comparing him with others, it is enough if we declare our conviction that he has composed poems which will live as long as the language in which they are written.JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL (1849).


The story of Miles Standish and of John Alden is as old as the hills, but it never was told with a clearer or more deliberate purpose, nor in the telling of it were the feelings of the three persons concerned made more conspicuous.


do not intend to say that the story as told by Longfellow is deficient in pathos. No such story could be told by him so as to want it altogether. But the whole tale of John Alden— for he is the hero, and not Miles Standish-is narrated in the language of ordinary life, for which the Latin hexameters are hardly fitted. The history is given with great rapidity, and yet seems to include all that there is to be said. Indeed, the story as a story is admirably complete. "Evangeline" is not complete. It is vague and wandering, and given only in parts, whereas "Miles Standish" is round and finished from beginning to end.-ANTHONY TROLLOPE.


The poet keeps throughout the grace and subtle power of the poet; he keeps all that was ever his own, even to the love of profuse simile, and the quaint doubt of his reader implied. by the elaborated meaning; and he loses only the tints and flavors not thoroughly assimilated or not native in him. Throughout is the same habit of recondite and scholarly allusion, the same quick sympathy with the beautiful in simple and common things, the same universality, the same tenderness for country and for home. Over all presides individuality superior to accidents of resemblance, and distinguishing each poem with traits unmistakably and only the author's; and the equality in the long procession of his beautiful thoughts never wearies, but is like that of some fine bas-relief,

in which the varying allegory reveals one manner and many inspirations.-WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS.


I. SOURCES.-1. Where did Longfellow get the characters of his story? 2. Determine the place and time of the action. 3. What connection does the story have with the poet's family history? 4. Does the poem depict the painful or the pleasant side of colonial life? 5. How are two events, the sailing of the "Mayflower," in 1621, and the raid against the Indians, in 1623, connected? 6. How many actual events does Longfellow use?

II. PLOT.-1. Show construction of the plot by table of events or by inverted ^, the angle representing the climax and the two arms the complication and resolution. 2. Indicate each crisis in the poem. 3. Where has the author rearranged incidents to suit his plot? 4. Write a paragraph narrating the story told in Part III. or IV. 5. Show how Part V. contains the climax and pivot of the story. 6. Where in Part I. is preparation made for Part V.? 7. Whom do you think the hero of the poem? Why? 8. How is the report of Standish's death received by the lovers? 9. Note the number of surprises in the latter half of the poem. 10. How much time elapses between Parts I. and V.; between Parts VII. and IX.? 11. Give three reasons for Standish's going away from Plymouth in Part VII. 12. How are we informed of events that happened before the opening scene in Part I.? 13. Find five passages descriptive of natural scenery; show color and landscape effects of each; and point out connection between. scenes and episodes. 14. Did Alden deliver his message to Priscilla as Standish expected?

III. CHARACTER DRAWING.-1. Study the characterization of Priscilla by the description of her, by her previous conduct, by what she says to Alden, by what she does. 2. Why does she love Alden rather than Standish? 3. In social rank and

« 上一页继续 »