26. What early American epic poem opens in a Maritime province evergreen forest?
Answer to Canada Quiz #26
Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
So begins Longfellow’s poetic tale set during the painful historical event known as the Acadian Expulsion of 1755. The poem relates the wanderings of an Acadian girl who becomes separated from her lover during their deportation and spends years in search of him. The sylvan setting is identified a few lines into the poem as Grand Pré, Nova Scotia.
The piece launched Longfellow’s career as the most popular poet of his day, and has been called the first important long poem in American literature.
Evangeline also ends with a forest reference. The final stanza begins:
Still stands the forest primeval; but under the shade of its branches
Dwells another race, with other customs and language.
It highlights a condition that continues to resonate within parts of Canada today.