The Fireside Poets Free Essay Example
The Romantic Period had many very talented poets who were referred to as the Fireside Poets. These poets write numerous forms of literature and are known as the best in that era, these poets’ names are Henry Longfellow, William Bryant, John Whittier, James Lowell, and Oliver Holmes, Sr.
The Fireside Poets have been known to write about many similar topics such as the topic of death itself. The topic of death was portrayed differently by the Fireside poets back then as opposed to what it is seen as today. The poems “Thanatopsis” by William Bryant, “The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls” by Henry Longfellow, and “The First Snowfall” by James Lowell all give a clear example of how the fireside poets view death. The poem “Thanatopsis”, written by Fireside poet William Bryant, speaks of death as a natural part of life and that everyone will face it. Bryant explains how death does not discriminate against anyone.
Bryant states in his poem that “Thou shalt lie down/ with patriarchs of the infant world with kings/the powerful of the earth the wise the good/fair forms and hoary seers of ages past” (Bryant 34-37). The whole idea of that quote was to explain how death is an inevitable fate that even the rich, powerful and the well-known will face death eventually. Another point Bryant also explains is how everyone will also face fear of how no one will notice their departure. A part of the poem asks the audience “and what if thou withdraw/ in silence from the living and no friend/ take note of thy departure?” (Bryant 57-60). Bryant believes that everyone will be worried of whether or not anyone will take note on how they are gone, or if anyone will truly care about their death.
Lastly, Bryant makes a point on how everyone will meet their death and should not fear it. The poem “The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls”, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, is another poem that has death as its main topic, the poem uses symbolism and phrases to portray this main theme. Longfellow uses a phrase to explain life and death perfectly in just a few words. In his poem Longfellow repeats the phrase “the tide rises, the tide falls” (Longfellow 5, 10, 15) at the end of all of the stanzas. The phrase simply explains how the tides continue to rise and fall before and after the span of our life, this is Longfellow’s way of describing life as a cycle. Another example of death is a personification used in the second stanza.
Longfellow’s uses a personification when he states “the little waves with their soft white hands/ efface the footprints in the sand.” (Longfellow 8). This personification is explaining how the ocean can erase all traces of the traveler who is believed to have died. Finally Longfellow shows an obvious hint towards a death that has occurred. Longfellow quotes how in his poem “the morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls/ stamp and neigh, as the holster calls;/the day returns but nevermore/ returns the traveler to the shore” (Longfellow 12-14). Longfellow explains how the suns light returns after night but not the traveler spoke about in his poem, hinting at the possibility of his death.
Longfellow gives off many forms of symbolism that stand for death in his poem. Lastly the poem written by James Russell Lowell, “the first snowfall” is another poem that uses death as its main theme. Lowell uses symbolism throughout the entirety of the poem, the snowfall in the poem is used as an example of the narrator’s sorrow. Lowell explains in the seventh stanza “Again I looked at the snow-fall, And thought of the leaden sky that arched o’er our first great sorrow when that mound was heaped so high” (Lowell 27-28) of how the snow pile began to grow. The snow that piled up symbolized the main characters sorrow for his daughter’s death, speaking of the winter when his daughter died. Another description Lowell uses is when he describes the snow once again to the narrator.
Lowell says in the eighth stanza “flake by flake healing and hiding/ the scar that renewed our woe” (Lowell 31-32) describing the snow with a personification. Lowell says how the snow would fall gradually piling up and hiding his sorrows. Finally Lowell says how the narrator will always think about his daughter in the last stanza. In the poems last stanza, the narrator addresses “then with eyes that saw not, I kissed her/ and she, kissing back, could not know/ that my kiss was given to her sister” (Lowell 40) explaining the amount of love for both of his daughters. The line explains how the narrator may feel anguish for his loss, but it will never over power his love for his current daughter and his past one.
Lowell gives many forms of simile and metaphors in his poem to describe death and what emotions that it can bring. All of these poems give a clear theme of death weather is through a simile or just facts of what it truly is. The fireside poets share a common idea and philosophy of death itself that is dramatically different than what other would view it as. If death were to be viewed as if the fireside poets viewed it the negative emotions and phobias that come with it would not follow it anymore. The fireside poets work will always display a clear view on what their ideas of death would be, another part of life that is as natural as anything else and something that should not be feared.