Once Upon a Time….

karendowdall

“In to Each Life Some Rain Must Fall,” from the Poem, “The Rainy Day” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Life of Longfellow

Longfellow the second-oldest in a family of eight children, was a teacher at Bowdoin College in Maine, and later at Harvard University.Longfellow’s first wife Mary died in 1831 following a miscarriage, while they were traveling in Europe. The couple had been married for only four years. He did not write for several years following her death, but she inspired his poem “Footsteps of Angels.”

In 1843, after years of trying to win her over for nearly a decade, Longfellow married his second wife Frances. The two had six children together. During their courtship, Longfellow often walked from his home in Cambridge, crossing the Charles River, to Frances’ family home in Boston. The bridge he crossed during those walks is now officially known as the Longfellow Bridge.

But his second marriage ended in tragedy as well; in 1861 Frances died of burns she suffered after her dress caught fire. Longfellow was himself burned trying to save her and grew his famous beard to cover the scars left behind on his face.He died in 1882, a month after people around the country celebrated his 75th birthday.

Body of Work

Longfellow’s best-known works include epic poems such as “The Song of Hiawatha,” and “Evangeline,” and poetry collections such as “Tales of a Wayside Inn.” He also wrote well-known ballad-style poems such as “The Wreck of the Hesperus,” and “Endymion.”

He was the first American writer to translate Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” Longfellow’s admirers included President Abraham Lincoln, and fellow writers Charles Dickens and Walt Whitman.

Analysis of ‘The Rainy Day’

This 1842 poem has the famous line “Into each life some rain must fall,” meaning that everyone will experience difficulty and heartache at some point. The “day” is a metaphor for “life.” Written after the death of his first wife and before he married his second wife, “The Rainy Day” has been interpreted as a deeply personal look into Longfellow’s psyche and state of mind.

Here is the complete text of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Rainy Day.”

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the moldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.
My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the moldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast
And the days are dark and dreary.
Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

11 thoughts on ““The Rainy Day” By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (for a Rainy Day)

  1. Hilly Humter says:

    Am amazing review of one of my favorite poems and poets.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hilly, I felt the same way too! The author of this post often does really great analyse of other famous writers and authors. Karen 🙂

      Like

  2. frenchc1955 says:

    Karen, thank you for this excellent post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are welcome and it was my pleasure! K. D.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jennie says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading both this poem and his life. How sad to loose two wives. That walk across the bridge from Cambridge to Boston is a very long walk! Excellent post, Karen. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jennie, thank you! We have had rain almost every day since the beginning of February. I love a rainy day, but 22 days in the a row?
      I loved learning about Longfellow’s personal history too. It is terribly sad and the memories must have been heart-rendering for the rest of his life. I would say…he had a lot of rain in his life. Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jennie says:

        Yes, I think he definitely had a lot of rain in his life. Thanks again, Karen! 🙂

        Like

  4. How sad to lose both of his great loves Karen. I often wonder why some people suffer such awful tragedies and not others. The Rainy Day shines a light on his inner strength.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brigid, I feel the same, and it is true. Into each life rain must fall. When tragedy does happen and I am sure many of us have lost a parent, a husband or a child…so we relate to his experience and his inner strength. It often gives us strength too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Anony Mole says:

    Neil Diamond’s Longfellow Serenade. He must have had such poems in mind when writing that song.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think so too. And, thank you for the link! K. D. 🙂

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: