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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Poem Analysis,Subject Summarisation And Explanation : 'Daybreak' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The fifth poem in the Class XI WBCHSE English B syllabus is 'Daybreak' written by the internationally  popular American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.The poem is very lyrical in nature ('Lyrical' has been used only as an adjective here and this poem is not grammatically a 'Lyric'.)Longfellow was one of those poets who had the ability to create magic with almost anything! This poem can definitely the reader imagine how a jolly rush of wind is blowing cheerfully,making the components of the environment respond to its flow.

Read on to find the complete analysis of the poem.


A wind came up out of the sea,
And said, "O mists, make room for me." 

It hailed the ships, and cried, "Sail on,
Ye mariners, the night is gone." 

And hurried landward far away,
Crying, "Awake! it is the day." 

It said unto the forest, "Shout!
Hang all your leafy banners out!" 

It touched the wood-bird's folded wing,
And said, "O bird, awake and sing." 

And o'er the farms, "O chanticleer,
Your clarion blow; the day is near." 

It whispered to the fields of corn,
"Bow down, and hail the coming morn." 

It shouted through the belfry-tower,
"Awake, O bell! proclaim the hour." 

It crossed the churchyard with a sigh,
And said, "Not yet! in quiet lie."

Poem Analysis,Summarisation And Explanation

'Daybreak' has been written in 9 rhyming couplets and follows the spirited progression of a gush of wind as it rises out of the sea and crosses onto the land,announcing the arrival of the day. (Adding a little note,due to phenomena of high and low pressure arising from the difference in temperature because of the climate around the sea,winds generally flow from the sea to the land at day and the vice versa happens at night.)
As given in the textbook,Longfellow presents day as a special presence that is hailed and before whom everybody bows.However,it can also be interpreted and personified as a source of joy and freshness that it keeps spreading around itself.
Primarily,the wind rushes out and clears the mist as if almost telling the mist to make room for it.It announces the beginning of a fresh morning giving an indication to the mariners who can now set sail as they would be able to steer their ship through the waters,now that the night is gone.And then it ultimately leaves the sea and makes its way towards the land ending the reign of sleep and announcing the rise of day.
It makes the foliage in the forest move along merrily as if almost telling them to hang their leafy banners out.It awakens the wood-bird (possibly a Wood thrush,owing to the fact hat is found in North America and is reported to have one of the sweetest vocalisations among birds.) and encourages it to sing by touching it's wing.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The sixth couplet describes the surroundings and the time by adding the fact that the wind encourages the rooster (expressed in the poem as the chanticleer) to bellow her clarion as it is the arrival of day.
The next couplet again shifts to the merry journey of the wind and makes the corn fields bow to the morning.It makes the church bell ring (belfry tower refers to the tower that houses the bell in a church.) and thus makes it announce the arrival of the hour,that of an early morning.
The literary term used in this couplet particularly is personification.The morning here is personified as a respectable personality in front of whom the corn fields show reverence by bowing down.
The last couplet is a legendary touch and transforms the entire mood of the poem.As the wind passes the churchyard,it slows down ('with a sigh' has been used to describe that the wind now is decelerated) and it does not disturb the souls sleeping under the ground in the churchyard as it feels it is not the hour for them to wake up.
This brings out Longfellow's style of imparting cultural and moral values in his poetry.

Special Credit : 'Mindscapes : Higher Secondary English Selections' Printed by Orient Blackswan on behalf of West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education (WBCHSE).

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  1. it is the most bakwas writing i have ever seen in my life and i will remember it till eternity

  2. Beautifully explained with clarity. Justifying the poem.

  3. This was a good one. I liked the way you explained. Could you give explanation of class 6 poems?

  4. Very well analysed and explained!

  5. Can you tell me? How is the wind personified in the poem?

    1. The entire poem follows the journey of the wind, wherein it first begins from the sea and throughout the journey speaks,whispers,shouts and screams to several other entities. Since these are actions performed by people,or more specifically by a "person",the grammatical term for the same is personification. In philosophical terms, the wind has been outlines to play the role of an entity that resembles that of a person.

  6. The poem has been described well but there remains an indepth analysis untouched. The wind is a symbol of revolution possible in the world where the darkness stands for bondage and oppression and the daylight all for hope of betterment.

    1. Perspectives are certainly a strange thing. The metaphorical approach you've adopted is nice...and different.

  7. Thank you for the analysis. I had confusion regarding the last couplet. It is a bit cleared now.

    1. Glad that it helped. Do reach out in case you need help elsewhere!

  8. It's an really appreciatable article....great written..good job.

  9. Where is the inner meaning of the poem

  10. I think we should discuss why the souls should not wake up during that time because the day of judgement when they will be judged has not arrived.

  11. But more over nicely explained


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