The Cross of Snow By: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


In the poem, the reader describes the restlessness of someone during the nights. The person talks about someone he/she loves who is now dead. The person he/she loves is described looking at him/her through a wall, where he visualizes it's head. It could be because of guilt or insanity.

The atmosphere in the room is described dark, gothic, and quiet. In the same room, he reveals the one he loved who died is a she. This means it could be his wife, daughter, or maybe a close relative. Her death is described by him as if he knew what happened to her.

He says torment does not lead to peace. He then says there's no better person he values more then his beloved dead woman. Details of a nearby mountain is said blocking the sun. Possibly creating a great shadow over his home creating darkness. A trail of snow is said to be on the mountain. A trail which is similar to himself.

He is basically trying to say death is inevitable no matter what happens. We can't escape death. Deep sorrow has occurred to him losing his beloved since the day she died. It apparently happened 18 years ago.


In the poem, the author used strong words such as sleepless,pale,martyrdom,ravines,and changeless to describe the tales of death and sorrow. In the first stanza, he describes nights sleepless, while mentioning someone dear to him is long dead. He sets his sights at a wall and talks to himself imagining the person dead is looking at him. It takes place in the dark while a night lamp casts a halo of "pale light". This is to highlight dimness of light in the room.

The reader describes the soul of his beloved "more white" perhaps compared to snow. "Martyrdom" is described with fire as never to be led to repose. He's saying torment never brings peace. Books are symbolized as knowledge and still won't show there's a life more precious to him then another.

In the third stanza, he describes a mountain in the West, mentioning it blocks the sun. It has a cross of snow upon its side. It's compared to be as a path. The sun is a symbol for life. The mountain is likely of symbol of our journey up to the top reaching the sun. It's been approximately 18 years since his loved one dies he says. Ever since then, he says nothing has ever changed. It's in my belief that the author knows what happened to the one he loves. He basically says we cannot escape death and nothing can change that. The poem's tone in other words is supposed to be depressing and earnest. The lighting described in the poem is usually dark.


Created with images by Crunchy Footsteps - "Past residents of Tombstone- Tombstone Cemetery, Tombstone, Arizona USA" • naql - "Snowy Trail" • _hq_ - "Snowy branches"

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