Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls

The tide rises, the tide falls,
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
Along the sea-sands damp and brown
The traveller hastens toward the town,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;
The little waves, with their soft, white hands,
Efface the footprints in the sands,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls
Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;
The day returns, but nevermore
Returns the traveller to the shore,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882) was an American poet and educator whose works include Paul Revere’s Ride, The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline. He was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy.

Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, which was then a part of Massachusetts. He studied at Bowdoin College. After spending time in Europe he became a professor at Bowdoin and, later, at Harvard College. His first major poetry collections were Voices of the Night (1839) and Ballads and Other Poems (1841). Longfellow retired from teaching in 1854 to focus on his writing, living the remainder of his life in Cambridge, Massachusetts in a former Revolutionary War headquarters of George Washington. His first wife Mary Potter died in 1835, after a miscarriage. His second wife Frances Appleton died in 1861, after sustaining burns when her dress caught fire. After her death, Longfellow had difficulty writing poetry for a time and focused on translating works from foreign languages. He died in 1882.

Longfellow was the most popular American poet of his day. In recent years, he has fallen out of favor, but his poems are still enjoyable to read for their musicality and their unapologetic renderings of traditional American themes.

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Henry_Wadsworth_Longfellow,_photographed_by_Julia_Margaret_Cameron_in_1868

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1868

2 comments on “Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls

  1. azureesoleil
    August 3, 2016

    Reblogged this on BLUE SUN and commented:
    ZEN – I really found a sense of peacefulness reading this today. Some things, like the tide are constant, regardless of what else is going on in the world.

    Like

  2. Bob Ziller
    August 3, 2016

    In my opinion, his translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy is still without peer.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on August 3, 2016 by in Poetry and tagged , .
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