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Any poem can be read historically if you know the setting. The geography and era will have its own past which you can research. Look for major events and people like politicians, wars, societal values, great arguments, or leaders. Then, read the poem to see if any of these ideas have crept in. You also have to keep in mind the time and place of the writer.
For example, in "Paul Revere's Ride" by Longfellow, the author was writing a story after the fact. Historically, we know that in the poem's setting, the American Revolution was going on, and that Revere is a major figure for the Colonists against the British. The author was siding with the Colonists because he shows Paul Revere as a hero, but he is writing many years later, and his point of view is skewed because he portrays Revere as The Main Hero, when we know that there were other riders that night.
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