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Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. "Mezzo Cammin".


- the title comes from the opening line of Dante's Inferno: "Midway in the journey of our life"

- i.e. the author was 35 years old when writing the poem



The speaker sadly contemplates the fact of half of his life being gone and his poetical aspirations remaining unfulfilled. It was not pleasure, not indolence, not passions which prevented him from reaching the aim. It was sorrow and care.

He hopes to accomplish yet what he planned to. But being on half-way up the hill, he can look back to the past and already he can hear the thundering of the cataract of Death from the top of the hill.



- an intimate confession of the author

- melancholy in tone, but allowing for hope

- expresses the self-conscious desire of the poet to manage a great poetic achievement


  • Author

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

    "Mezzo Cammin".
  • First Published

    In: Longfellow, Samuel ed. Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Boston: Ticknor and Company, 1886.
  • Form


Works Cited

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. "Mezzo Cammin". (1886). In: The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym et al. NY: Norton, 1989.


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