An Epic Poem
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Evangeline, written by the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was published in 1847. The poem's focus is on the betrothal of a fictional Acadian girl named Evangeline Bellefontaine to her beloved, Gabriel Lajeunesse, as the British deport them among masses of their fellowmen from Acadia in the Great Upheaval.
The Great Upheaval was the forced removal, by the British, of French inhabitants of parts of a North American region historically known as Acadia, between 1755 and 1764. The area includes the Canadian Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, and the U.S. state of Maine. The expulsion caused the deaths of thousands of people of French heritage.
Evangeline has been called the first important long poem in American literature. Although it is often studied at the highschool and college levels because of its atypical rhythmic structure and its historical and cultural significance, it's included on our Totally Literate website, which is primarily for young wordsmiths, solely because of its sheer verbal beauty. Youngsters will dramatically enlarge their vocabulary and noticeably increase their ability to express themselves with greater facility.
This is the forest primeval.
The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.
This is the forest primeval; but where are the hearts that beneath it
Leaped like the roe when he hears in the woodland the voice of the huntsman?
Where is the thatch-roofed village, the home of Acadian farmers―
Men whose lives glided on like rivers that water the woodlands,
Darkened by shadows of earth, but reflecting an image of heaven?
Waste are those pleasant farms, and the farmers forever departed!
Scattered like dust and leaves when the mighty blasts of October
Seize them, and whirl them aloft, and sprinkle them far o'er the ocean.
Naught but tradition remains of the beautiful village of Grand-Pré.
Ye who believe in affection that hopes, and endures, and is patient,
Ye who believe in the beauty and strength of woman's devotion,
List to the mournful tradition still sung by the pines of the forest;
List to a Tale of Love in Acadie, home of the happy.
Evangeline, Longfellow's Epic poem with over 17,000 words, is present in its entirety on our website. The purpose for which is to enrich vocabulary and foster literary appreciation. It is accessible to Diamond, Gold, and Palladium members.
To listen to the poem, double left click on the first word of the beginning paragraph then, from the drop-down menu, right click and choose "Read aloud from here."
To hear definitions, double left click on a word then left click on the 3 dots that will appear above it, then click again on "define."
To increase culture awareness, get informed or be entertained, click on any word of the poem then choose "Search in sidebar for [that word.]" You'll see definitions, images, and videos.
To listen on a smartphone in one of the flag languages, press on the title or the first word of the prolog. Often those words are unresponsive. When this happens, tap on any word til you find one that is responsive.
Then tap the three vertical lines on the horizontal menu. The menu will appear superimposed over the prolog.
Next, tap "Read aloud."
*The bluish text on the bottom of your display will take you to another webpage. It is Bing's (or Edge's) AI-powered copilot for the web. There you could ask any questions, and learn such things as the history on which the poem is based.