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Longfellow It has been estimated that there were four hundred poets in England in the time of Shakespeare, and in the century during which Dante lived Europe fairly swarmed with poets, many of them of high excellence. Frederick II. of Germany and Richard I. of England were both good poets, and were as proud of their verses as they were of their military exploits. Frederick II. may be said to have founded the vernacular in which Dante wrote; and Longfellow rendered into English a poem of Richard's which he composed during his cruel imprisonment in Austria. A knight who could not compose a song and sing it to the guitar was as rare as a modern gentl
med as if Providence had set a limit beyond which human happiness could not pass.
It was after this calamity that Longfellow undertook his metrical translation of Dante's Divina Commedia, a much more difficult and laborious work than writing original poetry.
As his brother said, He required an absorbing occupation to prevent him