Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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What is a summary of the poem "Rain in Summer"?

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Longfellow's poem "Rain in Summer" details the impact which the rain has on different persons and objects described within the poem.

Longfellow begins by detailing how the rain quenches the thirst of a dry street. The street, depicted as if on fire ("in the broad and fiery street"), needs the rain to cool its surface.

The next stanza details the rain as it bounces off of roofs (comparing the sound to that of horse hoofs) and spilling out of guttering.

The third stanza details how the rain floods the windows and fills the gutters (repetition of imagery seen in stanza two).

The fourth stanza describes a sick man who finds comfort and coolness from the rain. This references a fever and the drop in temperature one feels when water touches feverish skin.

The fifth stanza describes boys, "their wonted noise and commotion" changed by the new found stream fro which they can sail their boats down. The rain has a calming effect on them.

The sixth stanza describes a country scene where a stretches out on thirsty grass needing quenching. (This repeats the thought in stanza one.)

The eighth stanza speaks to the fact that the oxen plowing the once hardened ground may now plow more effortlessly given the rain has softened the fields.

The final stanza describes the fact that the rain is going to bring the farmer "thrift and gain."  If it would not rain, the farmer would not have a harvest- it would not grow given the draught. Instead, the rain brings promise of a good harvest.

A simple summary of the poem would state that the speaker of the poem is detailing the many ways that rain brings replenishment to the earth- it cools, it re-hydrates, it eases, and it brings promise.

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