Childrens Hour

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Named after his uncle, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine in a house looking over the ocean on February 27, 1807. Longfellow was a child of eight having three brothers and four sisters. He was the son of Stephen Longfellow and Zilpah Wadsworth Longfellow. His ancestors came to America in 1676 from Yorkshire, England. Starting school at Portland Academy, only at the age of three, was just some of the early experiences for Longfellow would endure. At the age of six, his family received a letter from his school that stated, "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." As a young child, Henry always admired literature. His mother would read to him and his siblings' stories like "Don Quixote", and "Sketch Book" by Washington Iriving.

It turned out later down the road the "Sketch Book" was a major influence in Longfellow's life.

After graduating Portland Academy Longfellow continued his education at Bowdoin College. Ironically Nathaniel Hawthorne was one of his classmates there. Longfellow's father, Stephen Longfellow, was a very successful lawyer in Portland and continually tried to convince Henry to follow in his footsteps. All was going well for his father until Henry was a senior at Bowdoin and they developed a chair of modern languages. When he graduated he was asked to return to school to become a professor of these modern language classes. Longfellow was given time to travel and study for his profession in places such as Europe, Italy, Spain, Germany, and France. In 1820 His first poem about John Lovewell Was publish in the Portland Newspaper.

In 1831, Longfellow married Mary Storer Potter. Potter and Longfellow had met and school where they had a good friendship and then met later down the road. After getting married Longfellow settled down and began expanding his profession and started making travel sketches for the New England Magazine. At this time he was still a professor at Bowdoin and had also become a Librarian. In 1834, He was mad a professor at Harvard University and once again left for Europe to extend his knowledge, but his wife traveled with him this time. In Rotterdam Mary Storer Potter, his wife of only three years, past away leaving Longfellow alone returning to America to start his new job.

In 1843 Longfellow was remarried to Frances Appleton. As a wedding gift Appleton's father, Nathan Appleton, who was rather wealthy purchased the Craigie House as a wedding gift. Longfellow was no stranger to the house because he had taken a room there after the tragic death of his first wife. While living there his first book of poems titled "Voices of the Night" was published. After this he ventured back to Europe and wrote "The Spanish Student." The Longfellow's a total of five children, two boys and three girls, who were described in the poem "The Children's Hour." In 1847 "Evangeline" was published and became an instant hit. In 1854, Longfellow resigned from Harvard and began to just write poetry. Shortly after resigning, he began to write "The Song of Hiawatha." In 1861 Longfellow's wife, Frances Appleton, burned to death one day while she was receiving her children's curlers. After this grief Longfellow attempted to go back to Europe and try to continue a normal life. He there wrote "The Cross of Snow" in memory of Appleton. On March 24, 1882 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was placed in the Poets' Corner of West Minister Abbey in London. He was the only American to receive this honor.

The poem "The Children's Hour" is wrote about Longfellow's three daughters. It is written in four line stanzas, quatrain, and arranged with an ABCB rhyme scheme. It describes just before morning there is a pause known as the children's hour.

This is the time when I hear little footsteps in the room above me. The door opens and I hear their soft and sweet voices.

As I am in my study I can see the shadows of my daughters. Poor Alice, laughing Allegra, and Edith with her golden hair.

They whisper, but are then quiet. They are trying to get a plan together to take me by surprise.

The suddenly rush from the stairway and all of the study doors are raid, they then enter. They surround me and wont let me escape they are everywhere.

They almost bury me with all of their kisses, and they wrap their arms around me.

Do you think that just because you can get to me that I cannot over power you? I will get you all and not let you leave. Instead of letting you go I will lock you away inside of my heart with love. I will always love you forever and a day.