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The Writer's Hour: Footprints on the Sands of Time

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Sketch of The Village Smithy, Cambridge by Henry W. Longfellow

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Sketch of The Village Smithy, Cambridge by Henry W. Longfellow / NPS, Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site

Papa sits like a king within his castle walls. Do you recognize this poem, <em>The Village Blacksmith</em>?

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

Dexter Pratt worked just down Brattle Street as a neighborhood smithy. Unfortunately, many trees lining Brattle Street, including the spreading chestnut, were cut down to make the street wider. Children heard that Mr. Longfellow was upset and so they saved their dimes to have a chair made from the "spreading chestnut tree." Now can you guess the birthday present for Papa? Yes, the magnificent "ebon throne." Today he's inviting each child who visits to sit in the chestnut chair. Papa often gives children an autographed copy of the poem, <em>From My Arm Chair</em>. A verse reads:

"Only your love and your remembrance could
Give life to this dead wood,
And make these branches, leafless now so long,
Blossom again in song.


Item 20 of 26