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Evangeline

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By: (1807-1882)

Evangeline is one of Longfellow’s most popular poems and was once a great favorite with the American people. For many years almost every school child studied this poem during the middle school years. Although the decline of the reputation of the once-idolized poet has also brought neglect to this classic, it is still a very touching and expertly written work of art. It is based upon the tragic expulsion of the French settlers from Acadia (located in the Canadian maritime provinces) during the French & Indian War (1754-1763). Many Acadians died as a result of their exile, and many families were separated, including the heroine of this poem and her betrothed. Although she is a fictional character, statues of her and other memorials exist in Nova Scotia and other places now inhabited by descendants of the Acadians, later frequently known as “Cajuns.” (Introduction by Leonard Wilson)

First Page:

Evangeline.

A Tale of Acadie.

by

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

THIS is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks, Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight, Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic, Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms. Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep voiced neighboring ocean Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.

This is the forest primeval; but where are the hearts that beneath it Leaped like the roe, when he hears in the woodland the voice of the huntsman? Where is the thatch roofed village, the home of Acadian farmers, Men whose lives glided on like rivers that water the woodlands, Darkened by shadows of earth, but reflecting an image of heaven? Waste are those pleasant farms, and the farmers forever departed! Scattered like dust and leaves, when the mighty blasts of October Seize them, and whirl them aloft, and sprinkle them far o'er the ocean. Naught but tradition remains of the beautiful village of Grand Pré... Continue reading book >>


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