Morituri Salutamus

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807—1882) American poet


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Poem in heroic couplets by Longfellow, written for the fiftieth anniversary of his class at Bowdoin, was collected in The Masque of Pandora (1875).

The title derives from the cry of the Roman gladiators, “O Caelig;sar, we who are about to die salute you!,” and in the name of his now aged classmates the poet salutes the familiar scenes, the former teachers, and the young men who are taking the place of his generation, finally addressing his comrades themselves. In an elegiac mood, he recalls the joys and griefs of their long lives, then tells a story, adapted from the Gesta Romanorum, of the coming of death, and concludes by urging their continued activity and achievement, while life affords opportunity.

Subjects: Literature.

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