Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
1 When the summer fields are
2 When the birds are fledged and
3 And the
dry leaves strew the path;
4 With the falling of the
5 With the cawing of the crow,
6 Once again the fields we mow
7 And gather
in the aftermath.
8 Not the sweet, new grass with
9 Is this harvesting of
10 Not the upland
11 But the rowen mixed with weeds,
12 Tangled tufts from marsh and meads,
13 Where the poppy drops its seeds
14 In the silence and
The Arsenal At Springfield
1 This is the Arsenal. From floor to
2 Like a
huge organ, rise the burnished arms;
3 But from their silent pipes no
the villages with strange alarms.
5 Ah! what a sound will rise, how
wild and dreary,
6 When the
death-angel touches those swift keys!
7 What loud lament and dismal
mingle with their awful symphonies!
9 I hear even now the infinite
10 The cries of agony,
the endless groan,
11 Which, through the ages that have gone
12 In long
reverberations reach our own.
13 On helm and harness rings the Saxon
14 Through Cimbric
forest roars the Norseman's song,
15 And loud, amid the universal clamor,
16 O'er distant
deserts sounds the Tartar gong.
17 I hear the Florentine, who from his
18 Wheels out his
battle-bell with dreadful din,
19 And Aztec priests upon their
20 Beat the wild
war-drums made of serpent's skin;
21 The tumult of each sacked and burning
22 The shout that
every prayer for mercy drowns;
23 The soldiers' revels in the midst of
24 The wail of famine
in beleaguered towns;
25 The bursting shell, the gateway wrenched
26 The rattling
musketry, the clashing blade;
27 And ever and anon, in tones of
28 The diapason of the
29 Is it, O man, with such discordant
30 With such accursed
instruments as these,
31 Thou drownest Nature's sweet and kindly
32 And jarrest the
33 Were half the power, that fills the world
34 Were half the
wealth bestowed on camps and courts,
35 Given to redeem the human mind from
36 There were no need
of arsenals or forts:
37 The warrior's name would be a name
38 And every nation,
that should lift again
39 Its hand against a brother, on its
40 Would wear
forevermore the curse of Cain!
41 Down the dark future, through long
42 The echoing sounds
grow fainter and then cease;
43 And like a bell, with solemn, sweet
44 I hear once more
the voice of Christ say, "Peace!"
45 Peace! and no longer from its brazen
46 The blast of War's
great organ shakes the skies!
47 But beautiful as songs of the
48 The holy melodies
of love arise.
The Building of The Ship
1 "Build me straight, O worthy
2 Stanch and strong, a goodly
3 That shall laugh at all
4 And with wave and whirlwind
5 The merchant's word
6 Delighted the Master
7 For his heart was in his work,
and the heart
8 Giveth grace unto every
9 A quiet smile played round his
10 As the eddies and dimples of the tide
11 Play round the bows of ships,
12 That steadily at anchor ride.
13 And with a voice that was full of
14 He answered, "Erelong we will launch
15 A vessel as goodly, and strong, and
16 As ever weathered a wintry sea!"
17 And first with nicest skill and art,
18 Perfect and finished in every part,
19 A little model the Master wrought,
20 Which should be to the larger plan
21 What the child is to the man,
22 Its counterpart in miniature;
23 That with a hand more swift and sure
24 The greater labor might be brought
25 To answer to his inward thought.
26 And as he labored, his mind ran o'er
27 The various ships that were built of
28 And above them all, and strangest of
29 Towered the Great Harry, crank and
30 Whose picture was hanging on the
31 With bows and stern raised high in
32 And balconies hanging here and there,
33 And signal lanterns and flags afloat,
34 And eight round towers, like those that
35 From some old castle, looking down
36 Upon the drawbridge and the moat.
37 And he said with a smile, "Our ship, I
38 Shall be of another form than this!"
39 It was of another form, indeed;
40 Built for freight, and yet for speed,
41 A beautiful and gallant craft;
42 Broad in the beam, that the stress of the
43 Pressing down upon sail and mast,
44 Might not the sharp bows overwhelm;
45 Broad in the beam, but sloping aft
46 With graceful curve and slow degrees,
47 That she might be docile to the helm,
48 And that the currents of parted seas,
49 Closing behind, with mighty force,
50 Might aid and not impede her course.
51 In the ship-yard stood the Master,
52 With the model of the vessel,
53 That should laugh at all disaster,
54 And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!
55 Covering many a rood of ground,
56 Lay the timber piled around;
57 Timber of chestnut, and elm, and oak,
58 And scattered here and there, with
59 The knarred and crooked cedar knees;
60 Brought from regions far away,
61 From Pascagoula's sunny bay,
62 And the banks of the roaring Roanoke!
63 Ah! what a wondrous thing it is
64 To note how many wheels of toil
65 One thought, one word, can set in
66 There 's not a ship that sails the
67 But every climate, every soil,
68 Must bring its tribute, great or
69 And help to build the wooden wall!
70 The sun was rising o'er the sea,
71 And long the level shadows lay,
72 As if they, too, the beams would be
73 Of some great, airy argosy,
74 Framed and launched in a single day.
75 That silent architect, the sun,
76 Had hewn and laid them every one,
77 Ere the work of man was yet begun.
78 Beside the Master, when he spoke,
79 A youth, against an anchor leaning,
80 Listened, to catch his slightest
81 Only the long waves, as they broke
82 In ripples on the pebbly beach,
83 Interrupted the old man's speech.
84 Beautiful they were, in sooth,
85 The old man and the fiery youth!
86 The old man, in whose busy brain
87 Many a ship that sailed the main
88 Was modelled o'er and o'er again; --
89 The fiery youth, who was to be
90 The heir of his dexterity,
91 The heir of his house, and his daughter's
92 When he had built and launched from
93 What the elder head had planned.
94 "Thus," said he, "will we build this
95 Lay square the blocks upon the slip,
96 And follow well this plan of mine.
97 Choose the timbers with greatest
98 Of all that is unsound beware;
99 For only what is sound and strong
100 To this vessel shall belong.
101 Cedar of Maine and Georgia pine
102 Here together shall combine.
103 A goodly frame, and a goodly fame,
104 And the Union be her name!
105 For the day that gives her to the
106 Shall give my daughter unto thee!"
107 The Master's word
108 Enraptured the young man heard;
109 And as he turned his face aside,
110 With a look of joy and a thrill of
111 Standing before
112 Her father's door,
113 He saw the form of his promised
114 The sun shone on her golden hair,
115 And her cheek was glowing fresh and
116 With the breath of morn and the soft sea
117 Like a beauteous barge was she,
118 Still at rest on the sandy beach,
119 Just beyond the billow's reach;
120 But he
121 Was the restless, seething, stormy
122 Ah, how skilful grows the hand
123 That obeyeth Love's command!
124 It is the heart, and not the brain,
125 That to the highest doth attain,
126 And he who followeth Love's behest
127 Far excelleth all the rest!
128 Thus with the rising of the sun
129 Was the noble task begun,
130 And soon throughout the ship-yard's
131 Were heard the intermingled sounds
132 Of axes and of mallets, plied
133 With vigorous arms on every side;
134 Plied so deftly and so well,
135 That, ere the shadows of evening
136 The keel of oak for a noble ship,
137 Scarfed and bolted, straight and
138 Was lying ready, and stretched along
139 The blocks, well placed upon the
140 Happy, thrice happy, every one
141 Who sees his labor well begun,
142 And not perplexed and multiplied,
143 By idly waiting for time and tide!
144 And when the hot, long day was
145 The young man at the Master's door
146 Sat with the maiden calm and still,
147 And within the porch, a little more
148 Removed beyond the evening chill,
149 The father sat, and told them tales
150 Of wrecks in the great September
151 Of pirates coasting the Spanish
152 And ships that never came back
153 The chance and change of a sailor's
154 Want and plenty, rest and strife,
155 His roving fancy, like the wind,
156 That nothing can stay and nothing can
157 And the magic charm of foreign
158 With shadows of palms, and shining
159 Where the tumbling surf,
160 O'er the coral reefs of Madagascar,
161 Washes the feet of the swarthy
162 As he lies alone and asleep on the
163 And the trembling maiden held her
164 At the tales of that awful, pitiless
165 With all its terror and mystery,
166 The dim, dark sea, so like unto
167 That divides and yet unites mankind!
168 And whenever the old man paused, a
169 From the bowl of his pipe would awhile
170 The silent group in the twilight
171 And thoughtful faces, as in a dream;
172 And for a moment one might mark
173 What had been hidden by the dark,
174 That the head of the maiden lay at
175 Tenderly, on the young man's breast!
176 Day by day the vessel grew,
177 With timbers fashioned strong and
178 Stemson and keelson and
179 Till, framed with perfect symmetry,
180 A skeleton ship rose up to view!
181 And around the bows and along the
182 The heavy hammers and mallets plied,
183 Till after many a week, at length,
184 Wonderful for form and strength,
185 Sublime in its enormous bulk,
186 Loomed aloft the shadowy hulk!
187 And around it columns of smoke,
188 Rose from the boiling, bubbling,
189 Caldron, that glowed,
190 And overflowed
191 With the black tar, heated for the
192 And amid the clamors
193 Of clattering hammers,
194 He who listened heard now and then
195 The song of the Master and his men:
196 "Build me straight, O worthy
197 Staunch and
strong, a goodly vessel,
198 That shall laugh at all disaster,
199 And with wave and
200 With oaken brace and copper band,
201 Lay the rudder on the sand,
202 That, like a thought, should have
203 Over the movement of the whole;
204 And near it the anchor, whose giant
205 Would reach down and grapple with the
206 And immovable and fast
207 Hold the great ship against the bellowing
208 And at the bows an image stood,
209 By a cunning artist carved in wood,
210 With robes of white, that far behind
211 Seemed to be fluttering in the wind.
212 It was not shaped in a classic
213 Not like a Nymph or Goddess of old,
214 Or Naiad rising from the water,
215 But modelled from the Master's
216 On many a dreary and misty night,
217 'T will be seen by the rays of the signal
218 Speeding along through the rain and the
219 Like a ghost in its snow-white sark,
220 The pilot of some phantom bark,
221 Guiding the vessel, in its flight,
222 By a path none other knows aright!
223 Behold, at last,
224 Each tall and tapering mast
225 Is swung into its place;
226 Shrouds and stays
227 Holding it firm and fast!
228 Long ago,
229 In the deer-haunted forests of
230 When upon mountain and plain
231 Lay the snow,
232 They fell, -- those lordly pines!
233 Those grand, majestic pines!
234 'Mid shouts and cheers
235 The jaded steers,
236 Panting beneath the goad,
237 Dragged down the weary, winding road
238 Those captive kings so straight and
239 To be shorn of their streaming hair,
240 And naked and bare,
241 To feel the stress and the strain
242 Of the wind and the reeling main,
243 Whose roar
244 Would remind them forevermore
245 Of their native forests they should not
246 And everywhere
247 The slender, graceful spars
248 Poise aloft in the air,
249 And at the mast-head,
250 White, blue, and red,
251 A flag unrolls the stripes and
252 Ah! when the wanderer, lonely,
253 In foreign harbors shall behold
254 That flag unrolled,
255 'T will be as a friendly hand
256 Stretched out from his native land,
257 Filling his heart with memories sweet and
258 All is finished! and at length
259 Has come the bridal day
260 Of beauty and of strength.
261 To-day the vessel shall be launched!
262 With fleecy clouds the sky is
263 And o'er the bay,
264 Slowly, in all his splendors dight,
265 The great sun rises to behold the
266 The ocean old,
267 Centuries old,
268 Strong as youth, and as
269 Paces restless to and fro,
270 Up and down the sands of gold.
271 His beating heart is not at rest;
272 And far and wide,
273 With ceaseless flow,
274 His beard of snow
275 Heaves with the heaving of his
276 He waits impatient for his bride.
277 There she stands,
278 With her foot upon the sands,
279 Decked with flags and streamers gay,
280 In honor of her marriage day,
281 Her snow-white signals fluttering,
282 Round her like a veil descending,
283 Ready to be
284 The bride of the gray old sea.
285 On the deck another bride
286 Is standing by her lover's side.
287 Shadows from the flags and shrouds,
288 Like the shadows cast by clouds,
289 Broken by many a sunny fleck,
290 Fall around them on the deck.
291 The prayer is said,
292 The service read,
293 The joyous bridegroom bows his head;
294 And in tears the good old Master
295 Shakes the brown hand of his son,
296 Kisses his daughter's glowing cheek
297 In silence, for he cannot speak,
298 And ever faster
299 Down his own the tears begin to run.
300 The worthy pastor --
301 The shepherd of that wandering
302 That has the ocean for its wold,
303 That has the vessel for its fold,
304 Leaping ever from rock to rock --
305 Spake, with accents mild and clear,
306 Words of warning, words of cheer,
307 But tedious to the bridegroom's ear.
308 He knew the chart
309 Of the sailor's heart,
310 All its pleasures and its griefs,
311 All its shallows and rocky reefs,
312 All those secret currents, that flow
313 With such resistless undertow,
314 And lift and drift, with terrible
315 The will from its moorings and its
316 Therefore he spake, and thus said he:
317 "Like unto ships far off at sea,
318 Outward or homeward bound, are we.
319 Before, behind, and all around,
320 Floats and swings the horizon's
321 Seems at its distant rim to rise
322 And climb the crystal wall of the
323 And then again to turn and sink,
324 As if we could slide from its outer
325 Ah! it is not the sea,
326 It is not the sea that sinks and
327 But ourselves
328 That rock and rise
329 With endless and uneasy motion,
330 Now touching the very skies,
331 Now sinking into the depths of
332 Ah! if our souls but poise and swing
333 Like the compass in its brazen ring,
334 Ever level and ever true
335 To the toil and the task we have to
336 We shall sail securely, and safely
337 The Fortunate Isles, on whose shining
338 The sights we see, and the sounds we
339 Will be those of joy and not of
340 Then the Master,
341 With a gesture of command,
342 Waved his hand;
343 And at the word,
344 Loud and sudden there was heard,
345 All around them and below,
346 The sound of hammers, blow on blow,
347 Knocking away the shores and spurs.
348 And see! she stirs!
349 She starts, -- she moves, -- she seems to
350 The thrill of life along her keel,
351 And, spurning with her foot the
352 With one exulting, joyous bound,
353 She leaps into the ocean's arms!
354 And lo! from the assembled crowd
355 There rose a shout, prolonged and
356 That to the ocean seemed to say,
357 "Take her, O bridegroom, old and
358 Take her to thy protecting arms,
359 With all her youth and all her
360 How beautiful she is! How fair
361 She lies within those arms, that
362 Her form with many a soft caress
363 Of tenderness and watchful care!
364 Sail forth into the sea, O ship!
365 Through wind and wave, right onward
366 The moistened eye, the trembling
367 Are not the signs of doubt or fear.
368 Sail forth into the sea of life,
369 O gentle, loving, trusting wife,
370 And safe from all adversity
371 Upon the bosom of that sea
372 Thy comings and thy goings be!
373 For gentleness and love and trust
374 Prevail o'er angry wave and gust;
375 And in the wreck of noble lives
376 Something immortal still survives!
377 Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of
378 Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
379 Humanity with all its fears,
380 With all the hopes of future years,
381 Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
382 We know what Master laid thy keel,
383 What Workmen wrought thy ribs of
384 Who made each mast, and sail, and
385 What anvils rang, what hammers beat,
386 In what a forge and what a heat
387 Were shaped the anchors of thy hope!
388 Fear not each sudden sound and
389 'T is of the wave and not the rock;
390 'T is but the flapping of the sail,
391 And not a rent made by the gale!
392 In spite of rock and tempest's roar,
393 In spite of false lights on the
394 Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea!
395 Our hearts, our hopes, are all with
396 Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our
397 Our faith triumphant o'er our fears,
398 Are all with thee, -- are all with
1 An old man in a lodge within a
chamber walls depicted all around
portraitures of huntsman, hawk, and hound,
4 And the
hurt deer. He listeneth to the lark,
5 Whose song comes with the sunshine
through the dark
6 Of painted
glass in leaden lattice bound;
listeneth and he laugheth at the sound,
writeth in a book like any clerk.
9 He is the poet of the dawn, who
10 The Canterbury Tales,
and his old age
11 Made beautiful with
song; and as I read
12 I hear the crowing cock, I hear the
13 Of lark and linnet,
and from every page
14 Rise odors of
ploughed field or flowery mead.
The Cross of Snow
1 In the long, sleepless watches of
2 A gentle
face -- the face of one long dead --
3 Looks at
me from the wall, where round its head
night-lamp casts a halo of pale light.
5 Here in this room she died; and
soul more white
through martyrdom of fire was led
7 To its
repose; nor can in books be read
8 The legend
of a life more benedight.
9 There is a mountain in the distant
10 That, sun-defying, in
its deep ravines
11 Displays a cross of
snow upon its side.
12 Such is the cross I wear upon my breast
13 These eighteen years,
through all the changing scenes
14 And seasons,
changeless since the day she died.
Written March 29, 1864.
1.1 Oft have I seen at some
laborer, pausing in the dust and heat,
down his burden, and with reverent feet
and cross himself, and on the floor
1.5 Kneel to repeat his
off the noises of the world retreat;
loud vociferations of the street
an undistinguishable roar.
1.9 So, as I enter here from day
1.10 And leave my
burden at this minster gate,
1.11 Kneeling in
prayer, and not ashamed to pray,
1.12 The tumult of the time disconsolate
1.13 To inarticulate
murmurs dies away,
1.14 While the eternal
ages watch and wait.
2.1 How strange the sculptures
that adorn these towers!
crowd of statues, in whose folded sleeves
build their nests; while canopied with leaves
and portal bloom like trellised bowers,
2.5 And the vast minster seems a
cross of flowers!
fiends and dragons on the gargoyled eaves
the dead Christ between the living thieves,
underneath, the traitor Judas lowers!
2.9 Ah! from what agonies of heart
2.10 What exultations
trampling on despair,
2.11 What tenderness,
what tears, what hate of wrong,
2.12 What passionate outcry of a soul in
2.13 Uprose this poem
of the earth and air,
mediæval miracle of song!
Written December 22, 1865.
3.1 I enter, and I see thee in
3.2 Of the
long aisles, O poet saturnine!
strive to make my steps keep pace with thine.
air is filled with some unknown perfume;
3.5 The congregation of the dead
thee to pass; the votive tapers shine;
rooks that haunt Ravenna's groves of pine
hovering echoes fly from tomb to tomb.
3.9 From the confessionals I hear
3.10 Rehearsals of
3.11 And lamentations
from the crypts below;
3.12 And then a voice celestial that
3.13 With the pathetic
words, "Although your sins
3.14 As scarlet be,"
and ends with "as the snow."
Written May 5, 1867.
4.1 With snow-white veil and
garments as of flame,
stands before thee, who so long ago
thy young heart with passion and the woe
which thy song and all its splendors came;
4.5 And while with stern rebuke
she speaks thy name,
ice about thy heart melts as the snow
mountain heights, and in swift overflow
gushing from thy lips in sobs of shame.
4.9 Thou makest full confession;
and a gleam,
4.10 As of the dawn on
some dark forest cast,
4.11 Seems on thy
lifted forehead to increase;
4.12 Lethe and Eunoë -- the remembered
4.13 And the forgotten
sorrow -- bring at last
4.14 That perfect
pardon which is perfect peace.
Written January 16, 1866.
5.1 I lift mine eyes, and all the
forms of Saints and holy men who died,
martyred and hereafter glorified;
the great Rose upon its leaves displays
5.5 Christ's Triumph, and the
splendor upon splendor multiplied;
Beatrice again at Dante's side
more rebukes, but smiles her words of praise.
5.9 And then the organ sounds, and
5.10 Sing the old
Latin hymns of peace and love
5.11 And benedictions
of the Holy Ghost;
5.12 And the melodious bells among the
5.13 O'er all the
house-tops and through heaven above
5.14 Proclaim the
elevation of the Host!
Written March 7, 1866.
6.1 O star of morning and of
bringer of the light, whose splendor shines
the darkness of the Apennines,
Forerunner of the day that is to be!
6.5 The voices of the city and the
voices of the mountains and the pines,
thy song, till the familiar lines
footpaths for the thought of Italy!
6.9 Thy fame is blown abroad from
all the heights,
6.10 Through all the
nations, and a sound is heard,
6.11 As of a mighty
wind, and men devout,
6.12 Strangers of Rome, and the new
6.13 In their own
language hear thy wondrous word,
6.14 And many are
amazed and many doubt.
The Evening Star
1 Lo! in the painted oriel of the
panes the sunken sun incarnadines,
3 Like a
fair lady at her casement, shines
evening star, the star of love and rest!
5 And then anon she doth herself
6 Of all her
radiant garments, and reclines
7 Behind the
sombre screen of yonder pines,
slumber and soft dreams of love oppressed.
9 O my beloved, my sweet
10 My morning and my
evening star of love!
11 My best and gentlest
lady! even thus,
12 As that fair planet in the sky above,
13 Dost thou retire unto
thy rest at night,
14 And from thy darkened
window fades the light.
The Fire of Drift-Wood
DEVEREUX FARM, NEAR MARBLEHEAD.
1 We sat within the farm-house
windows, looking o'er the bay,
3 Gave to the sea-breeze damp and
4 An easy
entrance, night and day.
5 Not far away we saw the
strange, old-fashioned, silent town,
7 The lighthouse, the dismantled
wooden houses, quaint and brown.
9 We sat and talked until the
10 Descending, filled
the little room;
11 Our faces faded from the sight,
12 Our voices only
broke the gloom.
13 We spake of many a vanished scene,
14 Of what we once had
thought and said,
15 Of what had been, and might have
16 And who was
changed, and who was dead;
17 And all that fills the hearts of
18 When first they
feel, with secret pain,
19 Their lives thenceforth have separate
20 And never can be
21 The first slight swerving of the
22 That words are
powerless to express,
23 And leave it still unsaid in part,
24 Or say it in too
25 The very tones in which we spake
26 Had something
strange, I could but mark;
27 The leaves of memory seemed to make
28 A mournful rustling
in the dark.
29 Oft died the words upon our lips,
30 As suddenly, from
out the fire
31 Built of the wreck of stranded ships,
32 The flames would
leap and then expire.
33 And, as their splendor flashed and
34 We thought of
wrecks upon the main,
35 Of ships dismasted, that were hailed
36 And sent no answer
37 The windows, rattling in their
38 The ocean, roaring
up the beach,
39 The gusty blast, the bickering
40 All mingled vaguely
in our speech;
41 Until they made themselves a part
42 Of fancies floating
through the brain,
43 The long-lost ventures of the heart,
44 That send no
answers back again.
45 O flames that glowed! O hearts that
46 They were indeed
too much akin,
47 The drift-wood fire without that
48 The thoughts that
burned and glowed within.
Hymn To The Night
1 I heard the trailing garments
of the Night
through her marble halls!
3 I saw her sable skirts all
fringed with light
4 From the
5 I felt her presence, by its
spell of might,
o'er me from above;
7 The calm, majestic presence of
8 As of
the one I love.
9 I heard the sounds of sorrow
10 The manifold, soft
11 That fill the haunted chambers of the
12 Like some old
13 From the cool cisterns of the midnight
14 My spirit drank
15 The fountain of perpetual peace flows
16 From those deep
17 O holy Night! from thee I learn to
18 What man has borne
19 Thou layest thy finger on the lips of
20 And they complain
21 Peace! Peace! Orestes-like I breathe this
22 Descend with
23 The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the
24 The best-beloved
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