Longfellow’s Legendary Anecdotes Henry Wadsworth Longfellow definitely had some significant ancestry, as his grandmother was a brigadier general of militia in the Revolutionary War, and soon after, became a congressman. His forefathers had all been named Stephen, each with increasingly impressive bouts of success. The first Stephen became a blacksmith, then the second Stephen in line became a Harvard graduate and schoolmaster, followed by the third, who was a legislator, in addition to becoming a senator and judge. Once this tradition reached Henry’s immediate family, however, the fortuitous name was given to Henry’s older brother. This is not to say, that his humble beginning in Portland, Maine, as one of seven children, was not
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At an early point in the poem, Longfellow accommodates this conclusion by telling, “Of all my boyish dreams. …It murmurs and whispers still.” Is there truly any being who could refute these claims? Perhaps not every person has “boyish dreams”, but those that possessed our imaginations as children, seem to fade away into only our deep memory, but are never truly forgotten. This is a simple elucidation as to why nearly anybody can precisely remember their own childhood fantasies and dreams. This provocative part of the poem draws out the romanticism in each and every one of us, articulating everyone’s reminiscent memories of their childhood, fondly looking upon the past.
This poem does add to Longfellow’s repertoire of ideal “Fireside Poems”, by exhibiting a response from the common people, and containing appealing subject matter. Therefore, this poem may very possibly have been meant to appeal to everybody, also appealing to familiar stimuli experienced and remembered as a child, like a favorite place, “the dear old town”, or a favorite song, demonstrated by the author’s recurring memory of a single song in many different ways, highlighting all of our differences as people, but drawing us together as a single entity who recall our early days as innocent children who may either dream all day long, or venture to enact their dreams by playing either by themselves, or with other children who were wishing this same