Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Is Born

Under a spreading chestnut tree,
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands. ”

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "The Village Blacksmith," published 1841 in Ballads and Other Poems.

Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born on February 27, 1807, in Portland, Maine. During his lifetime, Longfellow's poetry enjoyed extraordinary popularity at home and abroad.

"The Village Blacksmith" originally appeared in Knickerbocker magazine in 1840 and served as a standard recitation piece in American schools until well into the twentieth century. Longfellow's longer narrative poems include Evangeline (1847), The Song of Hiawatha (1855), and The Courtship of Miles Standish (1858).

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) was an American educator and poet whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and "Evangeline". He was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy and was one of the five members of the group known as the Fireside Poets.

Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, then part of Massachusetts, and studied at Bowdoin College. After spending time in Europe he became a professor at Bowdoin and, later, at Harvard College. His first major poetry collections were Voices of the Night (1839) and Ballads and Other Poems (1841). Longfellow retired from teaching in 1854 to focus on his writing, living the remainder of his life in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a former headquarters of George Washington. His first wife, Mary Potter, died in 1835 after a miscarriage. His second wife, Frances Appleton, died in 1861 after sustaining burns from her dress catching fire. After her death, Longfellow had difficulty writing poetry for a time and focused on his translation. He died in 1882.