The Fireside Poets
=The Fireside Poets are popular writers from the Romantic Literary Period. The Romantic Period focuses on the individual and sees nature as good. The Fireside Poets got their name because their poems were typically read by families beside a fire in the evening. Many of these poems from the Romantic Period discuss the topic of death. The poems “Old Ironsides” by Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and finally “The First Snowfall” by James Russell Lowell each have a theme of death but with different perspectives.
The poem “Old Ironsides” by Oliver Wendell Holmes contains a few different views on death. Holmes shows how death is an honorable thing. This is shown here when the author says:And many an eye has danced to seeThat banner in the sky;Beneath it rung the battle shout,And burst the cannon’s roar,–The meteor of the ocean airShall sweep the clouds no more! (Holmes 3-8).This shows that in death one should be honored for the actions they did while living. The poem also shows that respect is earned. This is proved here in the poem:No more shall feel the victors tread,Or know the conquered knee;–The harpies of the shore shall pluck theEagle of the sea! (Holmes 13-16).
This shows that even after death one should be respected according to the type of life they had lived. Holmes also explains that everyone deserves to be laid to rest properly. This is shown here when the author says:Oh better that her shattered hulkShould sink beneath the wave;Her thunders shook the mighty deep,And there should be her grave; (Holmes 17-20).This tells us that the way a person lived their life or the accomplishments one achieved should correspond with the way one is put to rest. This poem tells us that one should be properly honored and respected in death.Another poem that expresses views on death is “The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls” by Henry Wadsworth Langfellow.
The poem addresses the fact that when you die life will continue. This is shown when the author says:The morning breaks: the steeds in their stallsStamp and neigh, as the hostler calls:The day returns, but nevermoreReturns the traveler to the shore,And the tide rises, the tide falls. (Langfellow 11-15)This says that despite a death life on earth will continue to operate the way it always has. The poem also tells us how to live. This can be seen when the author says “little waves, with their soft, white hands / efface the footprints in the sand” (Langfellow 8-9).
This asks us if we will allow our memory to be washed away with time, or will we do something to be remembered. This poem also shows that death is simply something we all experience. This can be seen when Langfellow says “the twilight darkens, the curlew calls” (Langfellow 2). This explains that death eventually comes to everyone and everyone will eventually be called to die.The last poem to be discussed is “The First Snowfall” by James Russel Lowell showing his perspective on death. This poem explains to us that death can be extremely sad.
This is shown here “again I looked at the snowfall / and thought of the leaden sky / that arched over our great sorrow” (Lowell 25-27). Leaden skies or dark skies symbolizes tough times, therefore this tells us how sad and tough death can be. Over time things will get better. As shown here ” flake by flake healing and hiding / the scar that renewed our woe” (Lowell 31-32). This tells us that as time marches on the pain of death will slowly go away. This poem also shows that one can even find comfort during hard times.
This is shown here as he is talking to his daughter “how the flakes were folding it gently / as did robins the babes in the wood.” (Lowell 27-28). This shows that despite all hardships one is going through with death it is still possible to find peace and comfort. This poem explains that death is terrible, although we must find a way to keep going.All in all I learned that the Romantic point of view on death isn’t happy, although they try not to focus on the negative parts of death.
Romantics accept death and life as it is. They know there is no way to get around death therefore they live life to the fullest. Romantics even try to find the positive points in death the best they know how. Each poem gives an important lesson on death.