Friday, December 15, 2017

Holidays of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

photo © Mark Butkus 2017
Of some enchanted land we know not where.

The holiest of all holidays are those
    Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
    The secret anniversaries of the heart,
    When the full river of feeling overflows;—
The happy days unclouded to their close;
    The sudden joys that out of darkness start
    As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
    Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
    White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
    White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are;— a Fairy Tale
    Of some enchanted land we know not where,
    But lovely as a landscape in a dream.


—  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


One of America's first great poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882) also produced the first American translation of Dante's Divine Comedy. Longfellow was inducted into the American Poets' Corner in 1993 with Stephen Crane and is immortalized on Library Way in New York City.

He wrote classic American poems; The Song of HiawathaEvangeline and most famously, Paul Revere’s Ride. In 1874, his poem, The Hanging of the Crane, was sold to the New York Ledger for $3000. At the time it was the highest price ever paid for a poem. Holidays was first published in 1878 in Keramos Other Poems.