'Walter Von Der Vogel Weid' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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Vogelweid the Minnesinger,
When he left this world of ours,
Laid his body in the cloister,
Under Wurtzburg's minster towers.
And he gave the monks his treasures,
Gave them all with this behest:
They should feed the birds at noontide
Daily on his place of rest;
Saying, "From these wandering minstrels
I have learned the art of song;
Let me now repay the lessons
They have taught so well and long."
Thus the bard of love departed;
And, fulfilling his desire,
On his tomb the birds were feasted
By the children of the choir.
Day by day, o'er tower and turret,
In foul weather and in fair,
Day by day, in vaster numbers,
Flocked the poets of the air.
On the tree whose heavy branches
Overshadowed all the place,
On the pavement, on the tombstone,
On the poet's sculptured face,
On the cross-bars of each window,
On the lintel of each door,
They renewed the War of Wartburg,
Which the bard had fought before.
There they sang their merry carols,
Sang their lauds on every side;
And the name their voices uttered
Was the name of Vogelweid.
Till at length the portly abbot
Murmured, "Why this waste of food?
Be it changed to loaves henceforward
For our tasting brotherhood."
Then in vain o'er tower and turret,
From the walls and woodland nests,
When the minster bells rang noontide,
Gathered the unwelcome guests.
Then in vain, with cries discordant,
Clamorous round the Gothic spire,
Screamed the feathered Minnesingers
For the children of the choir.
Time has long effaced the inscriptions
On the cloister's funeral stones,
And tradition only tells us
Where repose the poet's bones.
But around the vast cathedral,
By sweet echoes multiplied,
Still the birds repeat the legend,
And the name of Vogelweid.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Walter Von Der Vogel Weid: A Masterpiece of Longfellow's Poetry
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of the most celebrated American poets of the 19th century, crafted a timeless literary masterpiece in his poem, "Walter Von Der Vogel Weid." The poem, published in 1851, is a powerful exploration of love, death, and the fleeting nature of human existence. It is a work of art that has inspired countless readers, scholars, and poets for over a century.
In this literary criticism and interpretation, I will delve into the themes, symbolism, and literary devices employed by Longfellow in "Walter Von Der Vogel Weid." This poem is a complex web of emotions and ideas that require careful analysis and interpretation. From the opening lines to the final stanza, Longfellow weaves a story that is both profound and deeply moving.
At its core, "Walter Von Der Vogel Weid" is a poem about love and loss. The central character, Walter, is a noble knight who falls in love with a beautiful maiden named Hildebrand. Hildebrand, however, is already betrothed to another man, and their love affair ends in tragedy. The poem explores the themes of unrequited love, jealousy, and the inevitability of death.
One of the most striking aspects of "Walter Von Der Vogel Weid" is the way in which it presents death as a natural and inevitable part of life. Longfellow portrays death as something that is not to be feared but rather embraced. Walter's love for Hildebrand is so powerful that he is willing to die for her. In the final lines of the poem, Longfellow writes, "And they shall bury them both in one grave / In the Odenwald." This final image of the lovers buried together is a powerful symbol of their eternal love that transcends death.
Another important theme in "Walter Von Der Vogel Weid" is the idea of fate or destiny. The poem portrays the characters as being helpless in the face of their fate. Walter and Hildebrand are destined to fall in love, and their love is destined to end in tragedy. Longfellow presents this idea of fate as a kind of cosmic force that cannot be controlled or altered. The poem suggests that we are all subject to the whims of fate and that we must accept our destiny, no matter how difficult it may be.
Longfellow employs a wide range of symbols in "Walter Von Der Vogel Weid" to convey the complex emotions and ideas of the poem. One of the most powerful symbols in the poem is the bird, which represents freedom, love, and transcendence. The bird is a recurring motif throughout the poem, and Longfellow uses it to suggest that love can transcend even death.
Another important symbol in the poem is the forest, which represents the unknown and the mysterious. The forest is where Walter and Hildebrand meet, and it is where their love affair begins. The forest is also where they ultimately die, and Longfellow uses this symbol to suggest that death is both mysterious and inevitable.
The final symbol in the poem is the grave, which represents the finality of death. The image of the lovers buried together is a powerful symbol of their eternal love that transcends death. The grave is also a symbol of the inevitable fate that awaits us all.
Longfellow employs a wide range of literary devices in "Walter Von Der Vogel Weid" to create a powerful and evocative poem. One of the most striking literary devices in the poem is the use of repetition. Longfellow repeats certain phrases and images throughout the poem to create a sense of rhythm and momentum. For example, the phrase "Walter Von Der Vogel Weid" is repeated several times throughout the poem, creating a sense of continuity and unity.
Another important literary device in the poem is the use of imagery. Longfellow uses vivid and evocative imagery to create a sense of place and atmosphere. The forest, for example, is described in great detail, with Longfellow using imagery to suggest its mysterious and enchanting qualities.
Finally, Longfellow employs a range of poetic forms and techniques in "Walter Von Der Vogel Weid" to create a sense of structure and coherence. The poem is written in a ballad form, with a regular rhyme scheme and meter. Longfellow also uses techniques such as alliteration and assonance to create a sense of musicality and rhythm in the poem.
"Walter Von Der Vogel Weid" is a masterpiece of American poetry that explores the themes of love, death, and fate. Longfellow employs a wide range of literary devices and symbols to create a powerful and evocative poem that has inspired generations of readers and scholars. The poem is a testament to Longfellow's skill and creativity as a poet and is a work of art that will continue to be studied and appreciated for many years to come.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Walter Von Der Vogel Weid: A Classic Poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of the most celebrated poets of the 19th century, wrote a classic poem titled "Walter Von Der Vogel Weid." This poem is a beautiful and touching story of a young knight who falls in love with a beautiful maiden, but is unable to win her heart. The poem is a masterpiece of romantic literature, and it has been admired by readers and critics alike for its lyrical beauty and emotional depth.
The poem tells the story of Walter, a young knight who is renowned for his bravery and chivalry. He is a skilled warrior, and he has won many battles for his lord and king. However, despite his many accomplishments, Walter is still searching for something more in his life. He longs for love and companionship, and he hopes to find it in the beautiful maiden he has seen in his dreams.
The maiden is described as being "fair and bright," with "golden hair" and "eyes like stars." She is the embodiment of beauty and grace, and Walter is immediately smitten with her. He dreams of her every night, and he longs to meet her in person.
One day, Walter sets out on a journey to find the maiden of his dreams. He travels far and wide, through forests and over mountains, searching for any sign of her. Finally, he comes to a castle where he believes she may be staying. He enters the castle and is greeted by the lord of the castle, who invites him to stay and rest.
While he is there, Walter meets the lord's daughter, who is also beautiful and kind. She is immediately taken with Walter, and she tries to win his heart. However, Walter is still in love with the maiden of his dreams, and he cannot forget her.
As the days pass, Walter becomes more and more restless. He longs to find the maiden and win her heart, but he is unable to do so. Finally, he decides to leave the castle and continue his search.
As he is leaving, the lord's daughter gives him a gift – a golden ring with a ruby in the center. She tells him that it will bring him good luck on his journey. Walter thanks her and sets out once again.
After many more days of travel, Walter finally comes to a beautiful garden. There, he sees the maiden of his dreams, sitting under a tree. He approaches her and declares his love, but she tells him that she cannot love him in return. She explains that she is already betrothed to another, and that she cannot break her promise.
Walter is heartbroken, but he accepts her decision. He tells her that he will always love her, and that he will never forget her. He then gives her the golden ring that the lord's daughter had given him, as a symbol of his love.
The poem ends with Walter returning home, still longing for the maiden of his dreams. He is a changed man, however, having learned the true meaning of love and sacrifice.
The poem is a beautiful and touching story of love and loss. It is a testament to the power of love, and the sacrifices that we are willing to make for the ones we love. Longfellow's lyrical style and vivid imagery bring the story to life, and his use of symbolism adds depth and meaning to the poem.
The character of Walter is a classic romantic hero, a brave and noble knight who is willing to risk everything for the sake of love. His journey is a metaphor for the journey that we all take in search of love and meaning in our lives.
The maiden of Walter's dreams is also a symbol of beauty and grace, a representation of the ideal of love that we all strive for. Her rejection of Walter's love is a reminder that love is not always easy, and that sometimes we must make sacrifices for the ones we love.
The golden ring with the ruby in the center is another symbol in the poem. It represents the power of love, and the hope that it brings. The fact that Walter gives it to the maiden as a symbol of his love is a testament to his devotion and his willingness to sacrifice for her.
In conclusion, "Walter Von Der Vogel Weid" is a classic poem that has stood the test of time. It is a beautiful and touching story of love and sacrifice, and it is a testament to the power of love in our lives. Longfellow's lyrical style and vivid imagery bring the story to life, and his use of symbolism adds depth and meaning to the poem. It is a must-read for anyone who loves romantic literature, and it is a true masterpiece of the genre.
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