Comparing Longfellow's Resignation And After The Burial

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Many great authors wrote poetry during times of grief, and Longfellow and Lowell were no exception to this trend. The poems “Resignation” and “After the Burial” are both centered around the death of a young daughter, but that is most likely the only similarity between them. One major difference between the two poems is the overall tone. “After the Burial” reads as one would expect a poem about death to; Lowell sounds absolutely crushed with grief. On the other hand, “Resignation” is by no means a happy poem; however, it is clear that Longfellow is able to move on from his daughter’s death. This is demonstrated well in the last stanza of each poem. At the very end of “After the Burial,” Lowell states, “That little show in the corner/… With its emptiness confutes you,/And argues your wisdom down,”…show more content…
Longfellow takes comfort in the fact his daughter is heaven, whereas the afterlife provides no comfort to Lowell. In “Resignation,” Longfellow declares “There is no death! What seems so is transition;/This life of mortal breath/Is but a suburb of the life elysian,/Whose portal we call death.” Here, he is not denying the fact that his daughter died; rather, he realizes that she is simply living in the next life, or heaven. This major detail gives the poem its more accepting and positive tone. In sharp contrast of this is “After the Burial,” in which Lowell proclaims, “Immortal? I feel it and know it,/Who doubts it of such as she?/But that is the pang’s very secret-/Immortal away from me.” Although Lowell also realizes that his daughter is in heaven, he derives no comfort in this fact unlike Longfellow. He misses her dearly, and while he realizes that the way he is feeling is not necessarily Christian, he cannot help but be upset. Lowell’s grief over his daughter destroys his logic and faith, while Longfellow is able to realize his daughter’s place in heaven and her better life
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