Suara GEA 1988 – 1992 (2)
From: Suara GEA, March 1988 edition
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
The Most Popular US Poets in the 19th Century
In this edition I would like to introduce Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to you. Longfellow was born on February 27, 1807 in Portland, Maine, US. There he attended private schools and Portland Academy. He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1825. At college he was attracted especially to Sir walter Scott’s romances and Washington Irving’s Sketch Book and his verses appeared in national magazines. He was so fluent in translating that on graudation he was offered a professorship in modern languages provided that he would first study in Europe.
On the Continent he learned French, Spanish, and Italian but refused to settle down on a regimen of scholarship at any university. In 1829, he returned to the United States to be a professor and librarian at Bowdoin. He wrote and edited textbooks, translated poetry and prose, and wrote essays on French, Spanish, and Italian literatures, but fell isolated. When he was offered a professorship at Harvard, with another opportunity to go abroad, he accepted and set forth for Germany in 1835. On this trip he visited England, Sweden, and The Netherlands.
In 1835, saddened by the deatch of his first wife, whom he had married in 1831, he settled at Heidelberg, where he fell under the influence of German Romanticism. In 1836 he returned to harvard and settled in the famous Craigie House, which was then given to him as a wedding present when he remarried in 1843. His travel skecthes Outre-Mer (1835) did not succeed. In 1839 he published Hyperion, a romantic novel, and Voices of the Night, containing the poems “A Psalm of Life” and “The Light of the Stars,” which became immediately popular. In 1841, Ballads and Other Poems, containing “The Wreck of the Hesperus,” swept the nation, but his Poems on Slavery (1842) were less successful. He was more at home in Evangeline (1847), and idyll of the former French colony of Acadia.
After spending over Harvard’s modern language program for 18 years, Longfellow left teaching in 1854. In 1855, using Henry Rowe Schoolcarft’s two books on the Indian tribes of North America as the base, and the trochaid metrics of the Finnish epic Kalevala as his medium, he fashioned The Song of Hiawatha. His approval was immediate.
The death in 1861 of his second wife after she accidentally set her dress on fire plunged him into melancholy. Driven by the need, The Tales of A Wayside Inn, modelled roughly on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and published in 1863, revelaed his narrative gift. The first poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” became a national favourite. He published in 1872 what was intended to be his masterpiece, the Christus: A Mystery, a trilogy dealing with Christianity from its beginning, and followed by two fragmentary dramatic poems, “Judas Maccabaeus” and “Michael Angelo.” But his genius was not dramatic, as he had demonstrated earlier in The Spanish Student (1843). He died at March 24, 1882, in Cambridge, Massachussets, US. Long after his deatch, however, these neglected later works were seen to contain some of his most effective writing. There is a memorial to him in Westminster Abbey.
Yes, artists are such interesting persons. They write, paint, create song, and carve their dearest composition with their feeling, mind, spirit, and blood. I dedicate for you “A Psalm of Life” as followed below…
A Psalm of Life
What the heart of the young man said to the psalmist
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
“Life is but an empty dream!”
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
and things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
“Dust thou art, to dust returned.”
Was not spoken of the soul,
not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
is our destined end or way;
but to act, that each tomorrow
find us farther than today.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
and our hearts, though stout and brave,
still, like muffled drums, are beating
funeral marches to the grave.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
in the bivouac of Life,
be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strive!
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead,
Act – act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!
Lives of gerat men all ermind us
we can make our lives sublime,
and, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the Sands of Time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
sailing o’er life’s solemn main
a forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
with a heart for any fate;
still achieving, still pursuing,
learn to labour and to wait.
by: Elisabeth DMS
Suara GEA: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
August 1, 2006 by Bebeth
Suara GEA 1988 – 1992 (2)