Tuesday, January 30, 2007

This is the forest primeval

I always forget that Evangeline and The Courtship of Miles Standish were Longfellow's, too. The Song of Hiawatha, The Wreck of the Hesperus, The Children's Hour, The Village Blacksmith, and The Ride of Paul Revere seem to come to mind more often. I read in the TLS that he visited the Tennysons at least once. Longfellow is our Tennyson; or maybe it's that Tennyson is their Longfellow. There are other poems that remain in the memory with no effort beyond the original one; The Arsenal at Springfield and The Arrow and the Song are two that come to mind without trying. The chain of all those generations of schoolkids who memorized all or part of these is broken. All the parodies are probably being forgotten just as quickly. I see just now that I must be reading so much about HWL because 2007 is the 200th anniversary of his birth. "Why don't you speak for yourself, John?" is another heading that could have been used here.


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