How Did Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Die – (1807 – 1882)

Date of Birth February 27, 1807 
Date Of Death March 24, 1882
Age 75 Years
Death Cause  Peritonitis (abdominal wall and organs infection)

He was born on February 27, 1807, and died on March 24, 1882 due to Peritonitis which is an illness of the stomach wall and organs. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a famous American author and teacher. His death marked the end of an age in American writing, and he left behind a huge body of work. 

Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody! (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow).

But how did this famous author end his life? Over the course of almost seven decades, Longfellow’s life was full of amazing accomplishments, personal struggles, and a strong dedication to his work.

Important Events in Early Life and Career

During his early years, Longfellow did very well in school and loved reading. He met fellow writers Nathaniel Hawthorne and Horatio Bridge at Bowdoin College, where he became friends with them for life. From a young age, it was clear that he loved writing, and when he was a teenager, he started putting out songs. Because Longfellow was interested in languages and translating, he travelled around Europe and spent time in Spain, Italy, France, and Germany, where he improved his language skills and grew to love world literature even more.

The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well, and doing well whatever you do! (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow).

Early in his career, he worked as a professor at Bowdoin College. He later went back to teach current languages there. During the year 1835, he was the first person from the United States to fill the chair in modern languages at Harvard University. Longfellow made important contributions to the field of language studies during his academic career. He translated works by Goethe and Dante and wrote textbooks that changed the way American students learned languages.

Personal Life And Relationships Outside Of Work

Longfellow’s personal life was full with pleasure and tragedy. Beyond his successful work, he experienced all human emotions and relationships. His marriage to Mary Storer Potter in 1831 was important. They had six children, making a loving, hopeful family. Unfortunately, life may be harsh. Mary Longfellow died after a miscarriage in 1835. Henry was deeply affected by this tragic loss. His poems generally expressed sorrow and reflected on the human condition during this time of loss and misery.

In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity! (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow).

Later, Longfellow found comfort in life’s complex design. He married Frances “Fanny” Appleton in 1843 for another opportunity at love and happiness. The second marriage gave him the joy and comfort he craved, giving him newfound purpose in writing and creating.

Longfellow’s poetry reflected his life’s ups and downs, from love’s joy and suffering to second chances. His ability to draw from his personal experiences and emotions made his art highly relevant and reflected the human spirit’s tenacity and ability to love and joy after loss.

Problems With Health And Life Struggles

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow struggled with health and personal issues. A fire at his home in 1861 was one of the worst events. Longfellow lost his beloved wife and suffered horrible injuries trying to save her from the flames. The events of that day tormented him and shaped his psyche.Longfellow was devastated by his wife’s death. His final works explored sadness, loss, and the human spirit, expressing his regret and pain. Longfellow’s poetry touched readers deeply by channelling his personal experiences.

“Art is long, and Time is fleeting,

And our hearts, though stout and brave,

Still, like muffled drums, are beating

Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,

In the bivouac of Life,

Be not like dumb, driven cattle!

Be a hero in the strife!”

(From “A Psalm of Life” By “Henry Wadsworth Longfellow”)

Longfellow had numerous diseases throughout his life. His health issues taxed his mental and physical strength. Despite his struggles, he wrote prolifically and meaningfully. His perseverance despite hardship shows his passion to his art. As a whole, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow experienced pleasure, love, and success, as well as severe grief and physical anguish. His irrepressible spirit and originality shined through, leaving an enduring legacy in American literature and a lasting influence on those who have found comfort and inspiration in his writings.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow From Death to Legacy

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! He was born on March 24, 1817, and died on March 24, 1882, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the city he loved. He died of peritonitis, which is a disease of the walls of the abdomen. After Longfellow’s death, there would be no more writing from him. He wrote many famous American songs, such as “The Song of Hiawatha” and “Paul Revere’s Ride.” He was an artist who not only wrote about what it means to be American, but also about many other places around the world. 

Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time! (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow).

He had a huge effect on American literature and education, and his words still move people and remind us of the power of writing. It was Longfellow who said, “In character, manner, style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.” And it is this very simplicity that makes his work lasting and worthwhile.

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