Longfellow Writing Incorporates Religion Essay

1563 words - 6 pages

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow incorporates religious themes into his poetical work. His religious beliefs were in favor of his Christian faith, unlike others who found all the negative aspects of Catholicism. His poetical works such as "Christus", "The Divine Tragedy" and "The Bells of San Blas" show his positivity toward the Catholic church. In Longfellow's life, he went through periods of depression as a reaction to his wives' deaths. During these times of sorrow, Longfellow turned to his faith which helped him move through the mourning process. In Longfellow's pre-poet days, he served as a priest and went to college attending a religious class. Longfellow took his religion seriously, and expressed his fealty through his work. "Christus", although thin and disorganized, was Longfellow's attempt at a religious epic. Longfellow loosely employs the virtues of faith, hope and charity as the basis of organization. It was originally planned as a dramatizing of the process of Christianity, but he only left his mark in the first and third parts of "Christus". Before he began writing "Christus", he was in a loftier mood. This uplifting mood eventuated into this attempted religious epic. Spoken by Edith, a character in "Christus", "Yea, I believe The Inner Light, and not the Written Word, To be the rule of life.", tells that Longfellow believes that the inner religious self should be taken more seriously than writing. He believes that whatever faith is in the heart is was that person should believe in. In Longfellow's background, he was seemed to be raised as a respectable Catholic. Longfellow never appeared to break the law, meaning he was brought up well and behaved with dignity. Even though the Wadsworth's and Longfellow's were predominantly enterprising laymen, men who are not clerics, they did have faith. Longfellow's brother, Samuel Longfellow, became a priest, and Longfellow wrote a hymn for his (Samuel Longfellow's) ordination into the church. Overall, Longfellow lived the life of a Christian gentleman. Depression was a major part of Longfellow's life. He was married twice and widowed twice. His first wife died of an infection which developed after a miscarriage. His second wife was trapped inside a burning house and was unable to escape. These two unfortunate events caused the creation of "Mezzo Cammin" and "The Cross of Snow". From "Mezzo Cammin" in line fourteen, Long fellow wrote, "The cataract of Death far thundering from the heights.", meaning that the cloudiness of death floats above in heaven. Longfellow was feeling down, saying throughout the whole poem how half of his life was wasted. Religion comes into play with the last line inferring the word heights as a synonym as heaven. In "The Cross of Snow", lines four, eleven and twelve all mention a religious aspect. In line four. Longfellow mentions the word "halo" inferring that his lost lover was similar to an angel. In lines eleven through twelve, "cross" in...

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