Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 - March 24, 1882) was a famous American poet and distinguished scholar. He wrote the familiar poems Paul Revere's Ride, Excelsior, and The Children's Hour. His long poems include Evangeline and his epic "Indian Edda" The Song of Hiawatha.

In Paul Revere's Ride, Henry wrote:

Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere ... Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch ... One if by land, two if by sea...

Longfellow also wrote the American classics of The Song of Hiawatha and the The Courtship of Miles Standish and Evangeline. The latter poem included this verse: "Man is unjust, but God is just; and finally justice triumphs."

Longfellow wrote In A Psalm of Life (1838):

Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul ...
In the world's broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life, Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife!
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 great men all remind 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.

Henry's parents were Stephen Longfellow and Zilpah Wadsworth Longfellow, and Henry was raised in Portland, Maine. Henry was sent to public school when he was only three years old, and proved to be an excellent student. When he was six, his parents received this report of him: "Master Henry Longfellow is one of the best boys we have in school. He spells and reads very well. He can also add and multiply numbers. His conduct last quarter was very correct and amiable."

Henry's father wished him to become a lawyer, but when Henry was a senior at Bodwin College, the college established a chair of modern languages and asked Longfellow to become the first professor.

Henry is one of the characters in Matthew Pearl's 2003 best-selling historical novel, The Dante Club.

Due to peritonitis, Henry had fallen ill with severe stomach pains, lasting several days on opium and passing away with family surrounding him at his bedside. He died at the age of 75, and was buried next to his past wives at Auburn Cemetery, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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