The Arrow and The Song



Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine in 1807 and was educated at Portland Academy and at Harvard University. He was married twice, his first wife dying in Holland in 1835, and his second, Frances Appleton (whom he married in 1843), dying in a burning accident at home in 1861 when Longfellow himself was injured. While at Harvard, the Longfellows lived at Craigie House, a gift of his father-in-law. He had three daughters and two sons. Longfellow's first book of poems, Voices of the Night, was published in 1839, and his last, In the Harbor, in 1882. In 1842 Longfellow visited Dickens in London, and his 1868-69 tour of Europe included honorary degrees at Oxford and Cambridge, by which time he had become as universally popular a poet as Tennyson. A bust was placed in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey after his death, the only American to be afforded this honour.

Henry Wadsworth



The Arrow and The Song


I shot an arrow into the air, 
It fell to earth, I knew not where; 
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight 
Could not follow it in its flight. 
I breathed a song into the air, 
It fell to earth, I knew not where; 
For who has sight so keen and strong, 
That it can follow the flight of song? 
Long, long afterward, in an oak 
I found the arrow, still unbroke; 
And the song, from beginning to end, 
I found again in the heart of a friend.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


About this poem Longfellow wrote: "October 16, 1845. Before church, wrote The Arrow and the Song, which came into my mind as I stood with my back to the fire, and glanced on to the paper with arrow's speed. Literally an improvisation."
to shoot/shot/shot/shooting: disparar, arrojar
swiftly: velozmente
to fly/flew/flown/flying: volar
to fall/fell/fallen/falling: caer
sight so keen: la visión tan aguda
oak: roble
unbroke = intact: intacta, sin romperse


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