The Village Blacksmith Longfellow_Village_Blacksmith_(manuscript_1).jpg

Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his haul, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.

Did you know
The blacksmith shop and the "spreading chestnut tree" really did exist on Brattle Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. When the road needed to be widened in 1876, the children donated their pennies to save the wood from the fallen tree and make a chair for Longfellow. He was presented with the chair on his 72nd birthday.

Marxism and The Village Blacksmith Analysis:
The Village Blacksmith is non-marxist. It shows the hard-working blacksmith toiling in his shop as any model American worker would. He is the Herculean ideal of the laborer who is religiously devoted to his job and work. (Canfield) Longfellow himself came from a wealthy, elite family. His grandfather was a founder of Bowdoin University. His father was a lawyer. Longfellow travelled throughout Europe and with the social elite and yet he chose to write about the lower class, hard working American. The Village Blacksmith was written as a representation of the average American worker in the 1800's. The Marxist approach would point out the values of the priviledged and would represent that as the norm versus the reality of the average American laborer.