Saturday, February 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Born in Portland, Maine on February 27, 1807, Longfellow was and still is one of the best loved poets of all time. Henry was an active boy, sometimes quick tempered but always sensitive, impressionable and creative. He loved song and dance but did not enjoy excitement. He began school at 3 and by the time he was 8 he studied halfway through Latin grammar. His Father’s extensive library of Shakespeare, Milton, Pope and Dryden, just to name a few, lent to his early curiosity of poetry and writing.

At the early age of 13 he penned and had his first poem published by the Portland Gazette titled “The Battle of Lovell’s Pond.” The poem was highly criticized at that time for being unsymmetrical and and unoriginal. However Longfellow was not discouraged. By age 15 he passed the exams for Bowdoin College and studied with well known writers to include Hawthorne. Although his Father wanted Henry to study law he spent a year at Cambridge college in study of general literature.

His extensive travel and study of foreign language lent to his receiving a professorship at Cambridge and Bowdoin. Throughout his life he wrote poetry and shared his love of words and language within the genre. He was a champion of the down trodden and those less fortunate. He lived his passion and as a result we are left with an exceptional anthology of his works to be savored and shared by generations to come.

He is my favorite poet. I’ve read all of his works and can testify that I enjoy all of his writings. I do have a few favorites such as The Day Is Done, The Arrow And The Song, Woods In Winter and Hymn To The Night. He was passionate about his work and it shows through each and every collection. I celebrate his birthday today and everyday as he, through his poetry, allows me to display my creativity and share my love for this craft. Happy Birthday Henry.

The Arrow and the Song

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




I'd also like to thank John over at English Wilderness for this award. I appreciate it very much. Please check out his blog, it's one of my favorites.

19 comments:

Secondary Roads said...

A wonderful poem by a great man. Thanks for sharing it todya.

Birdman said...

Have you seen the statue in Portland at Longfellow Square when he's decked out for Christmas w/ scarf and present? Quite cool!... Portland-- "his city by the sea."

Mumsy said...

I love this post, and love that poem! What a wonderful way to celebrate my day, and Happy birthday to Henry..

Liz said...

That's a beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing. :)

Icy BC said...

What a beautiful poem you've chosen for us, Jo!

Congrats to your awards!

B.Held said...

Such a fantastic poem! And, what a cute birthday shout out :)

Zuzanna Musial said...

Great poem along with the fabulous Tribute to a great poet Henry. W. Longfellow. He is one of my favorite writers as well.

Thank you for the great words,
Zuzanna

Ann said...

Excellent choice of poems for the post. Happy Birthday to Henry.

Sharkbytes said...

Longfellow is the best! I was raised on his works.

dawn said...

You picked a wonderful piece to share!
Happy Birthday Longfellow!

Poetic Shutterbug said...

Chuck, you are welcome :)

Birdman, no I haven't but would love to someday.

Mumsy, and happy birthday to you, I dedicate this poem for you.

Liz, glad you like it, thank you.

Icy, thank you and that poem is one of my many favorites.

Brittany,lol, glad you like it.

Zuzanna, Isn't he the greatest, thank you.

Ann, thanks I love that one.

Shark, I was as well and yes I agree he is the best.

dawn, Thank you :)

betchai said...

Jo, this is wonderful, thanks for sharing.

Ratty said...

I didn't know this was one of his poems. The poem is one of the most well-known of all. And he, of course, is one of the most famous poets ever. I'm really glad you posted this so that I know this now.

Willie a.k.a Reptoz said...

Nice poem.

Autumn Belle said...

A beautiful poem and a wonderful tribute to a great man.

Poetic Shutterbug said...

betchai, thank YOU for visiting.

Ratty, Cool, I'm glad I was able to help.

Willie, Thank you

Autumn, Thanks and so true.

RNSANE said...

I, too, love Longfellow. For a number of years, I lived in the Boston-Cambridge area and visited the Longfellow National Historic site in Cambridge. My father was from neighboring Waltham. Longfellow Park is just across the street and has his bust against carvings of some of his characters. Of course, living in that area, I had memorized, "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere."

Poetic Shutterbug said...

Carmen, I would love to visit there someday.

*MrsMartinez* said...

Thanks for sharing with us your favorite poet xoxo