sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

June 6, 2008

my d.c.: longfellow serenade
posted by soe 8:49 am


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was perhaps the preeminent American poet of the 19th century, specializing in lyrical epic poetry. He is best remembered for writing “The Song of Hiawatha,” “Paul Revere’s Ride“, “Christmas Bells” (from which came the lyrics for the carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”), and a nursery rhyme:

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

Perhaps most interesting to modern scholars is “Evangeline”, one of the few English-language poems to have been written in heroic hexameter, (six groupings or “feet” of three syllables each, the first of which is accented and the other two are not).

This statuary homage to the poet who wrote, “Art is long, and Time is fleeting,” stands in a pocket park at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and M Street N.W. Erected in 1909, it was sculpted by Thomas Ball and his son-in-law William Couper. Ball was a well-known sculptor who also created such works as “The Emancipation Memorial” in Lincoln Park and the statues of Daniel Webster in Central Park and those of Charles Sumner and George Washington in the Boston Public Garden.

From “A Psalm of Life”:

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.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Please stop by Rudi‘s, Sarah‘s, MsP‘s, and Hillary‘s blogs to see what they’ve got to show from My D.C. today. Mia, who normally blogs about My Frederick on Fridays, is on hiatus following the death of her mom earlier this week. Those of us in blogland send her and her family our deepest condolences.

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