Longfellow’s best-loved poems to be read Sunday
By Chris Bergeron/DAILY NEWS STAFF
Apr 16, 2010
Though Henry Wadsworth Longfellow never spent a night at the Wayside Inn, the 19th century bard’s verse will resound through the Martha-Mary Chapel Sunday afternoon in dramatic readings of two of his best-loved poems.
Former opera singer Michael Maglaras will recite four cantos, or books, from “The Song of Hiawatha” and “Paul Revere’s Ride” in its entirety at 4 p.m. in the chapel of the Sudbury landmark as part of a series of events celebrating the legacy of one of the nation’s most distinguished poets.
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Maglaras said Longfellow — like his other 19th century favorites, poet John Greenleaf Whittier and author Mark Twain — wrote verse and prose that reflected the optimism and confidence of their era.
“It was a confident time in our history when they were all alive. They were great poets and writers who never doubted their ability to set themselves a task and just do it,” he said. “We can learn from that kind of wonderful exuberance.”
Asked how a 21st century audience might respond to Longfellow’s under-appreciated 19th century masterpiece, Maglaras replied without hesitation, “They’ll walk out (of the chapel) feeling damn proud to be Americans.”