Why does the blacksmith feel sad in "The Village Blacksmith"?

In Longfellow's poem "The Village Blacksmith," the blacksmith feels sad when he hears his daughter singing in the church choir, and the sound of her voice reminds him of her mother, his wife, who is dead.

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In the fifth stanza of his poem "The Village Blacksmith," Longfellow describes the blacksmith in church on Sundays. He is delighted by the sound of his daughter's voice as she sings in the village choir. However, in the following stanza, his daughter's singing reminds the blacksmith of her mother's voice. Her mother, the blacksmith's wife, is now dead and is "Singing in Paradise." As he thinks of his wife lying in her grave, the blacksmith wipes away a tear "with his hard, rough hand."

Longfellow gives no details about the blacksmith's wife or how she died. The blacksmith stands as a heroic everyman figure, and the death of the woman he loves is the universal experience of tragedy. While most men do not face this particular pain, it is not uncommon. Moreover, some loss of a similar kind is a central part of the human experience, like the blacksmith's love for his daughter, and the hard, honest work which is at the center of the poem.

In the final stanza, the poet apostrophizes the blacksmith and thanks him for "the lesson thou has taught." This poem is typical of Longfellow in its straightforward didacticism, and one of the lessons the blacksmith teaches through his life is a simple, dignified way in which to approach grief.

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