Shakespeare Summary and Analysis by H.W Longfellow

H.W Longfellow- Henry Wordsworth Longfellow was a well-known poet of the 19th century. He was the man who had celebrated life and was well taught in literature. He was also a Harvard scholar, and in later years of his life taught at Harvard. He was appreciated for his work by Queen Victoria, Alfred Tennyson, and Walt Whitman. He died a wealthy man in 1882.

Summary of the Poem Shakespeare-

As the title of the poem states, the poem is centred around the praises of the great poet William Shakespeare. The poem initiates in amusement of the poet when he comes across the works of William Shakespeare. Truly he was on of the greatest English poet. The poem is also written in a Shakespearean sonnet of fourteen lines. The poet praises Shakespeare for his vision which is as bright as the city lights, he has classified himself for in his works, and the uniqueness of his works describes the qualified person he popularized for.

The characters presented in Shakespeare’s plays have a distinctive quality, they appear to be lifelike. The approach of Shakespeare to develop his characters has left an impact on the poet. The poet says that Shakespeare has been handed over the “lyre of gold,” and as a king, he sits on the throne, and poets follow his example. Whenever the poet goes through a Shakespearian play, he says that he feels a sweet fragrance of style and beauty intermingled with toughness and sharpness. The poet says Shakespeare mends with subjects so well, that the Gods of poetry loved him.

The poet is evidently pleased by Shakespeare, so much he decides to write a poem. He compares him with Apollo, the God of music. The poet feels that Shakespeare can refill, an obscure street with life, he displays emotions so powerfully that even the trumpets blow for him. The poet is simply stating that he creates a masterpiece when he writes a play. The poet calls him a “poet paramount” meaning he sits the highest and holds the highest place in English literature.

Style- The poem is written in Shakespeare sonnet. It consists of fourteen lines. The sonnet was usually written to give a word of praise to someone. Here, Shakespeare. It follows a specific meter and rhythm.

Tone of the Poem – Longfellow is quite enthusiastic in declaring how much he adores Shakespeare, the poem is written to dedicate his view for Shakespeare. Scholars of poetry regarded Shakespeare the greatest of the poet in English, he is just dragging the fact in his fashion. The poem is yet another compliment to Shakespeare greatness.

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Conclusion- 19th-century romanticism lovers would love this poem, Shakespeare was a romantic era figure, Longfellow appreciated the feeling of romantics, so it was common for Longfellow to feel pleased by the works of Shakespeare. For the poets, Shakespeare was a God, they loved his work and tried to figure out his intelligence in a way. He gave sonnet type poetry a lift.

Abhishek is a marketing research and social media consultant who developed a keen interest in blogging. He can be contacted at

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