Make your own free website on


Poetry Analysis Notes


The Sound of the Sea
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
interpreted by Aneesh Venkat

The sea awoke at midnight from its sleep,
And round the pebbly beaches far and wide
I heard the first wave of the rising tide
Rush onward with uninterrupted sweep;
A voice out of the silence of the deep,
A sound mysteriously multiplied
As of a cataract from the mountain's side,
Or roar of winds upon a wooded steep.
So comes to us at times, from the unknown
And inaccessible solitudes of being,
The rushing of the sea-tides of the soul;
And inspirations, that we deem our own,
Are some divine foreshadowing and foreseeing
Of things beyond our reason or control.

Poet: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Born on Feb 27, 1807 and died on March 24, 1882. Attended Portland Academy. He wrote many, many, poems including "Paul Rever's Ride". Very prolific New England poet.

Vocabulary: Cataract - a large or high waterfall
Inspirations - stimulation of the mind
Emotions - a high level of feeling

Type of poem:
Petrarchan Sonnet

Speaker: A lonely man reflecting about the depths of the soul who is thinking about analogies for it

General Audience

Tone: Extremely uncertain; after reading it's still an enigma

Longfellow tlaks of an ocean and a deep mysterious enamoly from the ocean. Longfellow goes onto state that the human soul is very similar to an ocean and that from the dark depths of the soul comes forces that we cannot control [may be slightly off, translated from handwriting]

Structure of poem: - An indentation pattern
- rhyming scheme (abba abba cde cde)
- One octect and one sestet
- petrarchan sonnet

Examples of poetic techniques used in the poem:

"These awoke at midnight from its sleep" Personification
"As of a cataract from the mountain's side"

Connection between the poem and the poet's life and/or times: First poet to use American themes and not borrow from British; Longfellow and others began to create an American literary heritage; not stolen from Europe

Most memorable quote from the poem:
"Are some divine foreshadowing and foreseeing / Of things beyond our reason or control"

© Smelli Notes 2001