Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

What is a summary of "How Beautiful is the Rain" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow?

Expert Answers info

mrshh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write992 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

"How Beautiful is the Rain" is a poem all about what happens when rain comes to a dry place.  In the poem, the falling rain has an impact on different people and in different places.  The writer shows that rain is a beautiful thing in many different ways.

The rain quenches heat and settles dust.  Rainwater flows all over houses and other buildings in cities.  A sick man with a fever feels the coolness brought on by the rain.  It gives him relief from the heat.  He is also comforted by the falling rain.  A group of schoolboys play in the rain.  The rain falls on the thirsty grasses in the plains after a draught.  Oxen who are used to plow fields feel the relief and rest from the rain.  The farmer surveys his crops as the rain pours over them.  He knows that his crops will benefit from the rain.  The poet describes Aquarius and how he walks and the clouds moving.  

The farmer thinks about the water and all the places where it will go.  He ponders the journey each drop will take:

Down to the graves of the dead,
Down through chasms and gulfs profound,
To the dreary fountain-head
Of lakes and rivers under ground;

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Jason Lulos eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write3,306 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Science

This poem begins with a description of rain following a dry, hot climate, maybe a summer day. It is a "welcome" rain, meaning the land had been too dry, the weather too hot. The rain is also described as being full of energy ("gushes and struggles" and "roars"). These literal descriptions will be used metaphorically and analogously in the rest of the poem. 

The poem then describes how the rain affects other people and how its actions are similar to those people. 

A sick man sees the rain's cooling and soothing effect on the outside world and his fever is likewise cooled and soothed. A group of rambunctious boys are coming from school and the gushing turbulence of the rain is compared to the energy...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 675 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now




Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Karyth Cara eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2013

write850 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Business, and History

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial