Evangeline and other poems Author:Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Among Longfellow's longer poems, there is none that has been more widely read than Evangeline, the first important long poem in American literature. The metre of Hiawatha may strike more familiarly on the ears of more people - including many who have never read either poem - but no story in verse is better known than the tale of the peaceful li... more »fe of Acadian folk in the "land of Evangeline" in what is now Nova Scotia, one of the Maritime Provinces of Canada; of the hasty dispersal and forced separations; of the search south to Louisiana, across to the Great West; and finally to a deathbed reunion in a charity hospital in Philadelphia.
One is able to observe that the smoothly and gravely flowing lines, while not without occasional defects, are well suited to a sustained pastoral poem in English. Classical or not, Longfellow's opening words, "This is the forest primeval," were long ago declared to be equaled in strength and familiarity only by those that begin Vergil's Aeneid: "Arma virumque cano."« less