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Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. "My Lost Youth".

Summary

The speaker often thinks of a town by the sea, the town of his youth, and recalls the memories connected with it. These memories seem to murmur to him the song of his youth. This builds a refrain repeated at the conclusion of each stanza: "A boy's will is the wind's will / And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

He recalls the islands in the sea, the black wharves and the sea-tides, sailors and their ships. Also he remembers the fort upon a hill. He recalls the image of a sea battle and the sea captains killed in the fight and lying in their graves. He remembers the sentiments of a schoolboy which are partially a prophecy and partially a wild longing. The speaker observes that there are things which cannot be spoken, dreams which cannot die, and thoughts that turn a strong heart in a weak one.

When the speaker returns to the old town, he finds forms which are strange to him, but the native air is pure and sweet. His heart returns to the woods and finds his lost youth again, together with a strange but beautiful song, the refrain.

 

Analysis

- a poem of reminiscence

- melodic, harmonic, easily flowing

- expresses melancholy for what is lost, but also joy in the memories that remain

Basics

  • Author

    Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. (1807 - 1882).
  • Full Title

    "My Lost Youth".
  • First Published

    1855.
  • Form

    Poem.

Works Cited

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. "My Lost Youth". (1855). In: The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym et al. NY: Norton, 1989.

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