Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882) was the most popular American poet of his time, and one of the most famous American poets of all time. It has been said that certain of his poems — the long narratives Evangeline and The Song of Hiawatha most notably — were once read in every literate home in America. A former teacher who fulfilled his dream to make a living as a poet, Longfellow taught at Bowdoin and Harvard, was eventually honored for his poetry with degrees from Oxford and Cambridge, and is one of the few Americans to have a monument dedicated to his memory in Westminster Abbey. This choice collection of his works, which reflects his mastery of a rich variety of poetic forms and meters, includes one of his best narrative poems, The Courtship of Miles Standish. Here, too, are such famous poems as "The Village Blacksmith," "The Wreck of the Hesperus," "The Children's Hour," "Paul Revere's Ride," and other poems on subjects ranging from lost youth and Giotto's Tower to slavery and the building of a ship. Includes a selection from the Common Core State Standards Initiative: "Paul Revere's Ride."
The Song of Hiawatha is based on the legends and stories of many North American Indian tribes, but especially those of the Ojibway Indians of northern Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. They were collected by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, the reknowned historian, pioneer explorer, and geologist. He was superintendent of Indian affairs for Michigan from 1836 to 1841. Schoolcraft married Jane, O-bah-bahm-wawa-ge-zhe-go-qua (The Woman of the Sound Which the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky), Johnston. Jane was a daughter of John Johnston, an early Irish fur trader, and O-shau-gus-coday-way-qua (The Woman of the Green Prairie), who was a daughter of Waub-o-jeeg (The White Fisher), who was Chief of the Ojibway tribe at La Pointe, Wisconsin. Jane and her mother are credited with having researched, authenticated, and compiled much of the material Schoolcraft included in his Algic Researches (1839) and a revision published in 1856 as The Myth of Hiawatha. It was this latter revision that Longfellow used as the basis for The Song of Hiawatha.
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