"a boy's will" (Longfellow)


Senior Member
Portuguese - Brazil
Hello! Could you please help me with this refrain from Longfellow's famous poem "My Lost Youth":

'A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.'

I've read the whole poem, and the doubt which remains is: is will being used in the sense of desire, wish, intention (like in free will), or, rather melancholy, in the sense of a declaration of one's wish after death - implying the death of the poet's youth?
  • cando

    Senior Member
    English - British
    It means that, because they are immature, the ambitions and desires of a young boy are changeable like the wind.

    The next line means that boys are dreamers.

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I think the idea is more likely "choice, wish, intention" < ----> although a secondary meaning of "testament" is not impossible.

    < ----> Non-English removed. Cagey, moderator.
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    Senior Member
    English (American)
    < Response to deleted comment removed. Cagey, moderator. >

    ...although a secondary meaning of "testament" is not impossible.

    I'm going to go ahead and say that it's impossible, yes. There's zero chance that Longfellow is talking about the fickleness and mutability of a child's last will and testament.
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