“Old Ironsides”,“The First Snowfall”, “A Psalms of Life”:Fireside Poets
The Romantic Period was a literary period in which writers would write about the common man, and nature. The Romantic Period contained writers know as Fireside Poets. Families would sit next to the fireplace and read the poems out loud. The poems would vary from different themes. The authors use themes like death, courage, or even a person’s natural instincts.
All three of these poems share the common theme of death. In the three poems “Old Ironsides” by Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The First Snowfall” by James Russell Lowell, and “A Psalms of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, all threes poems have different perspectives on the theme death.”The First Snowfall” by James Russell Lowell has the theme about the pain and healing of a death of a loved one. The author shows death in his daughter when he kisses her. The Persona stated that:Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her;And she, kissed back, could not knowThat my kiss was given to her sister,Folded close under deepening snow.
(Lowell 37- 39)The persona is kissing his alive and dead his daughter which is symbolizing that he is keeps his love ones close while also respect the memory of his daughter. The snow also symbolizes death. When the persona mournfully employs the snow was “Had been heaping field and highway / With silence deep and white” (3-4). With this quotes the silence is the silence of death and is deep underground. The poem also shows the healing process of death. The father blissfully employs that “That fell from that cloud like snow/ Flake by flake, healing and hiding / the scar renewed our woe” (30-32) of the daughter’s grave.
The Flakes are covering up the grave so he can be reminded less about the death. The poem wonderfully explains the pain of losing a loved one and how to heal from that pain.”Old Ironsides” by Oliver Wendell Holmes has the theme of prevention of death. Holmes tries to uses Ironsides war scars to try to make to ship more appealing. The persona stats that “Her Deck, once red with heroes’ blood” (Holmes 8). Holmes is trying to say the Old Ironsides deck is where many people blood has been shed.
Holmes also wants to make Ironsides seem valuable. He says that the ship is “Where knelt the vanquished foe” (9). It is saying many enemies have also died in the ship. Holmes is also showing the morning that destroying Old Ironsides would cause if they destroy it. Its persona also states that “no more shall fell victor’s tread” (13).
It is saying that if Ironsides were to be destroyed no one would remember all the victories that it has accomplished. “Old Ironsides” shows that death isn’t always a beautiful thing.”A Psalm of Life” By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is a poem that sees death as a wrong thing and embraces life. Longfellow sees life as it truly is. He says that “Life is real, Life is earnest” (Longfellow 5). He is stating that life should be taken seriously.
He also states that life should not be wasted. An Example of this is when he says “Art is long, and time is fleeting / and our hearts, though stout and brave / still, like muffled drums, are beating” (13-15). The poem says that time is leaving you and that your heart is still beating. As stated in the poem when it says “Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant / Let the dead Past bury its dead” (22-23). This means to let death pass you and live in the present. The poem does an excellent job explaining the beauty of life.
These three poems have helped me learn a lot of things. Death can be a beautiful thing as well as a painful experience. The Romanic authors do a great job at making death so descriptive. The experience helped thought me that life is one of the most important thing in the world. “Old Ironsides” by Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The First Snowfall” by James Russell Lowell, and “A Psalms of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow have the very similar theme of death but portrays them in many different ways.Work CitedHolmes, Oliver Wendell.
“Old Ironsides .” (1809-1894). N.p., 16 Sept. 1830.
Web. 10 Jan. 2014. ;http://www.eldritchpress.org/owh/oldiron.
html;.Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. “A Psalm of Life.” Poets.org.
N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Jan.
Lowell, James Russell. “The First Snowfall” Poets.org. N.p.
, n.d. Web. 10 Jan. 2014.;http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/16633;.