Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Summary of Longfellow's poem "Rain in Summer"


Longfellow's poem "Rain in Summer" celebrates the refreshing and rejuvenating effects of rain. The poem vividly describes how rain brings relief to the parched earth, revitalizes the environment, and brings joy to both people and nature. Through imagery and personification, Longfellow emphasizes the essential role of rain in sustaining life and the universal sense of renewal it brings.

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What is the summary of Longfellow's poem "Rain in Summer"?

This famous and beautiful poem begins by stating how beautiful rain is after a long, hot and dusty summer. The sound it makes and the impact it has is explored and evoked in the poem, for example in the following passage:

How it clatters along the roofs,

Like the tramp of hoofs

How it gushes and struggles out

From the throat of the overflowing spout!

Note the way that the sound of the rain is created through the onomatopoeia of "clatter" and how the simile compares the sound to the "tramp of hoofs."

Then the poem goes on to describe the different reactions of many different types of people to this rain and how it helps and heals them. The sick man's fever is cooled, the boys find a natural source to express their joy and merriment in the rain, to the countryside the rain is incredibly welcome, the "patient oxen" offer more thanks than man is able to for the rain and lastly the farmer is also incredibly grateful for the "gain" that will come to him through the rain.

The poet, however is able to see all of these things and so much more, including "Things manifold / That have not yet been wholly told." Just like the rain, the poet is able to take a universal view and access places through his imagination that only water can seep into. Lastly, the seer is shown to reflect on the endless cycle of life and death and to be able to see:

The Universe, as an immeasurable wheel

Turning forevermore

In the rapid and rushing river of Time.

The poem thus begins by focusing on the particular, the rain falling in summer, and this thus develops into a meditation on the mystical workings of the entire universe.

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What is the summary of Longfellow's "Rain in Summer"?

This question has already been asked and answered here on eNotes.  Here is a link for you:  http://www.enotes.com/henry-wadsworth-longfellow/q-and-a/explain-summery-poem-rain-summer-by-h-w-longfellow-243571

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What is the summary of Longfellow's "Rain in Summer"?

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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