the arrow and the song n.
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The Arrow and the Song. Jonathan Lewis. The Arrow and the Song By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I shot an arrow into the air, It fell to earth, I knew not where; For, so swiftly it flew, the sight Could not follow it in its flight. I breathed a song into the air,

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the arrow and the song by henry wadsworth longfellow
The Arrow and the SongBy Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I shot an arrow into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For, so swiftly it flew, the sight

Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For who has sight so keen and strong,

That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak

I found the arrow, still unbroke;

And the song, from beginning to end,

I found again in the heart of a friend.

Three stanzas

Twelve lines

End-rhyme

Lyric

first stanza
First Stanza

I shot an arrow into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For, so swiftly it flew, the sight

Could not follow it in its flight.

Literal Meaning

The speaker shot an arrow into the air but is unsure of its location after landing. The speaker describes the speed at which the arrow flew as too high for him to follow it with his eyes.

Figurative Meaning

The speaker did or said something negative but he did not know who his negative action affected after he had done it. Also, he did it too fast to follow whom he affected.

second stanza
Second Stanza

I breathed a song into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For who has sight so keen and strong,

That it can follow the flight of song?

Literal Meaning

The speaker sang a song but did not know who heard it.

Figurative Meaning

The speaker said or did something positive but did not know whom his positive action had affected for our actions quickly disappear into history.

third stanza
Third Stanza

Long, long afterward, in an oak

I found the arrow, still unbroke;

And the song, from beginning to end,

I found again in the heart of a friend.

Literal Meaning

After some time, the speaker found the arrow that he had shot earlier in an oak. He also found that it was intact and not damaged. Then, he heard his friend sing the song that he had previously sung.

Figurative Meaning

After many years, the speaker realized that the negative action he had done did affect somebody and it still affected him/her, hence the arrow being unbroke. He found that the positive action he had done affected someone as well.

alliteration
Alliteration

I shot an arrow into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For, so swiftly it flew, the sight

Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For who has sight so keen and strong,

That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak

I found the arrow, still unbroke;

And the song, from beginning to end,

I found again in the heart of a friend.

rhyme scheme
Rhyme Scheme

I shot an arrow into the air, A

It fell to earth, I knew not where; A

For, so swiftly it flew, the sight B

Could not follow it in its flight. B

I breathed a song into the air, A

It fell to earth, I knew not where; A

For who has sight so keen and strong, C

That it can follow the flight of song? C

Long, long afterward, in an oak D

I found the arrow, still unbroke; D

And the song, from beginning to end, E

I found again in the heart of a friend. E

about the poet
About the Poet

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, (which was then part of Massachusetts) in 1807. He became a professor at Bowdoin and, later, Harvard. He then retired to focus more on writing. He had a wife who died in 1834. He remarried to another woman who died in 1861. After his second wife died he had difficulty writing poetry. Longfellow died in 1882. He mainly wrote lyric poems which were known for their musicality. His poems often contained stories, legend, and mythology.

bibliography
Bibliography
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Wadsworth_Longfellow
  • http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/arts-entertainment/a-reading-of-the-arrow-and-the-song-by-henry-wadsworth-longfellow-16951.html