An Analysis of H. W. Longfellow’s Daybreak: Fundamental Human Relationships with Nature and Their Consequences


'Daybreak' taken from Birds of Passage, a collection of his poems by H.W. Longfellow is basically a nature poem lyrical in tone. The activity of sea wind blowing cheerfully, making the components of the environment respond to its flow at dawn is described in the poem. Keeping in mind the flow of the wind, the poet applies a breezy style to the poem. Longfellow has personified the sea wind and presented the poem in form of a dialogue.

H. W. Longfellow’s poem 'Daybreak’ seems to focus on why nature is blessed, but in fact the process by which the Day breaks into dawn turns out to be bait to lure the reader into a poem that is actually about fundamental human relationships with nature and their consequences.

At dawn, the sea wind, which can also be interpreted and personified as a source of joy and freshness that it keeps spreading around itself started to blow with the message of awakening to other agents of nature and also in human world. Before dawn the atmosphere remained hazy, full of the mist, making the air heavy and still. With the daybreak, wind from sea started to blow and requested the mists to give him the passage. It greeted the ships and gave impassioned call to the mariners to start their journey on the sea with the upraised sail as the night came to an end.
:“A wind came up out of the sea,
And said, "O mists, make room for me." 

It hailed the ships, and cried, "Sail on,
Ye mariners, the night is gone." 

And hurried landward far away,
Crying, "Awake! it is the day." 

It said unto the forest, "Shout!
Hang all your leafy banners out!" 

With hurry it came on the land and cry to everyone to wake up as it was day. It blew through the forest and asked the forest to create murmuring sound and open their leaves as flags of nature. The birds in the wood remained asleep with folded wings. It touched their folded wings to open so that they could start their flight. It went to the farm and requested the domestic crow to crow like a trumpet because the clear day was too near:
It said unto the forest, "Shout!
Hang all your leafy banners out!" 

It touched the wood-bird's folded wing,
And said, "O bird, awake and sing." 

And o'er the farms, "O chanticleer,
Your clarion blow; the day is near."

It whispered to the fields of ripe corn whose heads were heavily loaded to bow down to greet the approaching day. It also bows through the tower with the church bell and called the bell to declare the hour; the dawn with resonant loud ringing sound. The journey of the wind came to an end with the church yard, the place for burial. The wind left a sigh for those lying under grave in peace. It is the traditional Christian belief that at the end of the time all dead Christians will rise up with everlasting glory. The course of the wind's blowing came to an end providing message to all:
It whispered to the fields of corn,
"Bow down, and hail the coming morn." 

It shouted through the belfry-tower,
"Awake, O bell! proclaim the hour." 

It crossed the churchyard with a sigh,
And said, "Not yet! in quiet lie."

Ardhendu De



Popular posts from this blog

Dr. West’s New Method of Teaching English :Its Merits and Demerits

Critical Appreciation of Philip Larkin’s Poem, "The North Ship": Life Award for Best Philosophical Access

What are the specific objectives of teaching English as a second language at the secondary stage? How far is the current high school curriculum helpful in realizing the objectives?