Video presentation of the poem
video of the poem Sunrise on the Hills by H W Longfellow and about the author
Presentation video created by Ms.Sajeena Shukkoor
Biography of H W Longfellow
SUNRISE ON THE HILLS – BY H W LONGFELLOW
A reading of the poem “SUNRISE ON THE HILLS” by H W Longfellow makes one feel like drawing parallels from the Romantic poetry which is rich with mellifluousness and sensuousness. This is a poem of nature; senses. The poem bears testimony to Longfellow’s Romantic fervour and mysticism
The poem starts with the grand glorious return of the Sun after a period of absence (night). The poet sings of the nature’s delightfulness in receiving the first rays of the sun. This can be felt in every element and activity of nature, – the woods, gales, vales, clouds, landscapes, etc.
The lifting of the clouds unveils the beauty of nature. The day hasn’t passed its maidenhood. She (the Nature) is still young and fresh with her “mellow blush”. The whole poem is resonant with sounds untellingly telling about the progressing daytime.
As for figures of speech, there is the use of Simile in the first stanza, where one sees shattered, fading clouds compared to “hosts in battle overthrown.” The sky over the hilltops is in red glow as it is dawn. The ‘red’ can be of a battlefield in post-war time. It is indicative of the ‘blood shed’ in a battlefield.
There is consonance coming in ‘mist thrust’ and alliteration coming with ‘blasted, bare’. Onomatopoeia is another major device used in the poem. Sensuousness surfaces in with the onomatopoeic words. The first stanza is full of images pertaining to sight (visual imagery). ”Sense of sight” is pacified to the maximum here.
There is a transition from ‘sight’ to ‘hearing’ in the second stanza. Auditory imageries are used here profusely. One hears listens here. Every near and distant sound leaves us in a mesmerising soon. The dash, flash, the ringing of ‘the village bell’, wild horn’s hooting echoed in the hilly countenance, the merry shout of the valley – all is to our ears proving ‘poetry is to ears, not to eyes’. Nature’s bounty is, so heavy that one can feel the lightness of his soul. Even the breaking sound of the thin smoke by distant answering does not escape our ears.
The ‘merry shout’ is oxymoron giving the picture of a happy child shouting at the top of his voice in an elevated state of mind. The poet has brought out the pure, perfect innocence and enthusiasm of a child throughout the poem.
Kinaesthetic imagery is employed to impart the sense of movement. This ensures dynamism, in whatever seen and heard. Every speck is teeming with life and it is felt for sure. The bittern’s flights in spiral way, the water’s current whirl are instances of the active energy in nature.
Rhyme comes in the poem in pairs and the rhyme scheme is thus aa, bb, and so on in the poem.
Seemingly simple a poem, it comes down to concentrate on a philosophy of life in the last six lines. Considering all the facets of ‘Sunrise on the Hills’, this is something which drags us into the serenity of nature. Longfellow introduces the ultimate doctor, the perfect soothing agent to mankind – the nature. If you are worn out or feel hard with difficult surroundings, nature is a lesson to keep you out of a fainting heart and a sleepy soul.
The poem proclaims the power of nature. You ‘lose’ and ‘gain’ yourself simultaneously in nature – you can’t get out of smiling face when you constantly see sweet, cherishing face of Nature.
Smitha k, ghss Kattoor,
Uma Narayanan, cnnhss Cherpu