"I went into The Wreck of Hesperus an hour ago"
Illustration for
Public DomainIllustration for "The Wreck of the Hesperus" 1885 - Credit: John Gilbert

"The Wreck of the Hesperus" is a narrative poem by American Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, first published in Ballads and Other Poems in 1842.  It tells the story of the tragic consequences of a sea captain's pride. The captain ignored the advice of one of his experienced men, who feared the approach of a hurricane.  The ship crashes onto the reef of Norman’s Woe, and all aboard are lost, included the Captain’s daughter.  Longfellow was inspired by the great Blizzard of 1839, which raged across America’s northeast coast for 12 hours, destroying 20 ships and killing 40 people.  A ship called Favourite was destroyed on the reef of Norman's Woe, in Massachusetts, and all were killed, including a woman.