"Smiling said she to me, "Recollect thee now" "That thou this very day hast drunk of Lethe . . ."" America's most popular poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-82) spent many of his working years producing translations of European works. During the 19th century the Classic tradition was still vibrantly alive, in the countries across the Atlantic -- and through his verse translations Longfellow hoped he might help it acquire similar importance among readers in the young republic of the United States. Many of these translations stand alongside Longfellow's most famous original poems -- "The Psalm of Life," "The Children's Hour" and "Hiawatha." Perhaps his most important were those based upon Dante, which he began in 1843. This second volume, "The Purgatory" -- with its visions of the Wanton, the Gluttonous, the Sodomites, the Tree of Knowledge and the River Lethe -- is second in the three-volume poem that begins with the "Inferno."