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Analysis and comments on Excelsior by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Comment 15 of 95, added on January 5th, 2010 at 11:30 PM.
decipher please

could someone explain what the strange object in his hand is... Thanks!!!
Please sooner than later as this is for a project..


student from United States
Comment 14 of 95, added on October 27th, 2009 at 12:14 AM.

Might it be that Longfellow was following the thoughts of the author of
Eclesiastes---("vanity, vanity all is vanity. . . and grasping after the
wind") and writing
a satire on the sacrifices we make in service of things, which in the end
have the value of excelsior,the wood shavings used to pack fragile
merchandise then discarded.

John Blouch Yale '65 from United States
Comment 13 of 95, added on June 27th, 2009 at 3:09 PM.

This poem was in my 9th grade English Reader. That was 65 years back in
India. I loved it then. I love it now. The poem makes one want to follow
the example and strive to reach higher and higher. I wish and hope a lot of
kids will get to read this and feel about it as I do and it will be a
beacon in their life's journey.

Meena . T from United States
Comment 12 of 95, added on March 30th, 2009 at 5:03 PM.

I first read this poem when I was a boy,now nearly 70 years ago. I sensed
that it had a deeper meaning than appeared on the surface, and I committed
it to memory. I was especially interested in the title, and its meaning.
Someone had asked in an earlier comment about the meaning of the word,
excelsior. It means simply "yet higher", and speaks of the earnest
idealism of youth. A commitment to one's ideals. We need more of such
commitment today, and we need to hold to our ideals, long after our youth
has passed.

LeRoy Hogue from United States
Comment 11 of 95, added on December 30th, 2008 at 3:06 PM.

When I was seven years old, at home, in France, I learned this poem in
french. Suddenly, forty-one years later, it came to my mind and I
researched it:
"Déjà la nuit couvrait Et la montagne altiére, Et la sombre forrët, Et le
riant coteau". Is it possible to find the poem in its complete french
translation? It will be greatly appreciated!
HAPPY NEW YEAR, Lilie Robertson

Lilie Robertson from United States
Comment 10 of 95, added on December 19th, 2008 at 11:47 AM.

Can you tell me the origin and meaning of the word "Excelsior," apart from
wood shavings?

Thank you,

Bob Colwell

Bob Colwell
Comment 9 of 95, added on April 9th, 2007 at 8:22 AM.

Quite brilliant..optimistic yet reminds us of our mortality. One word of
advise ppl...not all poetry
has a hidden moral, same as an abstract painting does
not always have a "meaning". You see what you want to see and you feel what
you want to read.

LJ from Australia
Comment 8 of 95, added on March 12th, 2006 at 7:45 PM.

I believe this poem is more about overcoming pain and is directly
influenced by the death of his second wife, Frances Appleton. She died
while sealing their five children's curls with a candle and wax. The
packages suddenly errupted into flame causing burns from which she later
died. The curls of hair could be connected with the second meaning of the
word Excelsior- slender curly wood shavings used primarily for packing.
When the villagers beg the banner bearer not to try the pass, it represents
Mr Longfellow's contemplation of suicide. Instead Mr. Longfellow, like the
character in his poetry, pushed through the storm and continued on, head
and banner held higher than pain and suffering. But that is just my opinion
of the poem.

Riane from United States
Comment 7 of 95, added on February 10th, 2006 at 3:09 AM.

I am not a fan of peotry perse, I am more a novelist, but when I read this
poem it really connected with me. I am now using it as a base text in a
peice of A-level coursework and every time I read it I find new meaning in
the poem. Very well written - you can read into it as much or as little as
you like and I think that is why Longfellows poems are still so popular so
long after his passing.

Nick Marshall from United Kingdom
Comment 6 of 95, added on February 5th, 2006 at 6:10 PM.

I think this poem is really about innerself. Yeah and that it's more of a
thing like with barbie and ken like sometimes they don't understand each
other, but they still sometimes get along. yeah that's what i think about
this poem.. bye

Ruth from United States

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Information about Excelsior

Poet: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Poem: 12. Excelsior
Volume: Ballads and Other Poems
Added: Feb 1 2004
Viewed: 861 times

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