Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pisces + Scorpio = Poet

A work by one of my favourite poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow mentions astrology! Having looked at his natal chart, a predominance of Pisces and Scorpio tells me that he may have had some respect for the subject.

A few lines from "To A Child":

By what astrology of fear or hope
Dare I to cast thy horoscope!
Like the new moon thy life appears;
A little strip of silver light,
And widening outward into night
The shadowy disk of future years;
And yet upon its outer rim,
A luminous circle, faint and dim,
And scarcely visible to us here,
Rounds and completes the perfect sphere;
A prophecy and intimation,
A pale and feeble adumbration,
Of the great world of light, that lies
Behind all human destinies.

Longfellow commanded, in his heyday, both in America and Britain the fame and celebrity we accord to rock stars. His poetry is now looked upon by some as unfashionable, not by me. It's easy to read, and understand. "Accessible" is, I think, the term used in literary circles. Fashionable, as applied to poetry, usually means unintelligible! His epic poem "Hiawatha" has long been a favourite of mine.

Born in Portland, Maine on 27 February 1807, Longfellow's ancestors hailed from Yorkshire, England (my own native county).

(12 noon chart used as no time of birth known)

An appropriate natal chart for a poet ! The element of Water dominates. Sun Mercury Pluto and Venus all in Pisces, and trining Uranus, Saturn and Moon in Scorpio. (Moon's degree unknown for lack of birth time).

On-line biographies indicate that Longfellow was a gentle person, but from a young age ambitious for fame as a writer. His Scorpio planets would have been the driving force, I guess, whilst those 4 Pisces planets fired his imagination and vision.

Jupiter at 00 Aquarius squares Aquarius's ruler Uranus at 00 Scorpio. Mars in Virgo opposes the stellium of Pisces planets. These are challenging aspects in a chart which would otherwise have seemed serene. Some events in his life may mirror these challenges. Longfellow married twice. His first wife died following a miscarriage, his second wife died as a result of her clothing catching fire. No doubt the melancholy which seeps through some of his poems stems from these sad events.

Walt Whitman is reported to have said, after Longfellow's death:
"He comes as the poet of melancholy, courtesy, deference--poet of all sympathetic gentleness--and universal poet of women and young people. I should have to think long if I were ask'd to name the man who has done more and in more valuable directions, for America."

Another favourite poem by Longfellow "A Psalm of Life" was so admired by a Chinese Mandarin that he presented Longfellow with a folding fan covered with the words of that poem, written in Chinese.

A Psalm of Life

Tell me not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou are, to dust thou returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, - act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sand of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Still good advice, here in the 21st century, HWL!

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