Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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What is a summary of "The Evening Star" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow?

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"The Evening Star" is a sonnet. In the first eight lines, the speaker describes the emergence of Venus, often called the evening star. As the poem opens, the sun is setting, and the speaker sees the panes of "oriel," or window, he looks out of "incardine[d]," or made red, by the light of the sun. Once this is finished, the evening star can be seen shining in the sky. The speaker compares this star to a "fair lady" standing at a window. Eventually, too, the evening star falls behind the pine trees on the horizon, and the speaker compares this to a lady taking off her clothes at night to go to bed and dream.

These erotically tinged images set us up for the "turn" of the last six lines of the poem. Here, the speaker moves from contemplating a beautiful star in the sky to addressing his beloved from afar. He likens the woman he loves to Hesperus or Venus, the evening star he has just been watching. He says that just as Venus sinks behind the pine trees as if going to sleep, so his beloved has gone to "rest at night," the light in her window darkening.

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