Make your own free website on


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)


1     When the summer fields are mown, 
2     When the birds are fledged and flown, 
3         And the dry leaves strew the path; 
4     With the falling of the snow, 
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 flowers 
9     Is this harvesting of ours; 
10       Not the upland clover bloom; 
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 gloom. 

The  Arsenal  At  Springfield

1     This is the Arsenal. From floor to ceiling, 
2         Like a huge organ, rise the burnished arms; 
3     But from their silent pipes no anthem pealing 
4         Startles 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 Miserere 
8         Will mingle with their awful symphonies! 

9     I hear even now the infinite fierce chorus, 
10       The cries of agony, the endless groan, 
11   Which, through the ages that have gone before us, 
12       In long reverberations reach our own. 

13   On helm and harness rings the Saxon hammer, 
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 palace 
18       Wheels out his battle-bell with dreadful din, 
19   And Aztec priests upon their teocallis 
20       Beat the wild war-drums made of serpent's skin;

21   The tumult of each sacked and burning village; 
22       The shout that every prayer for mercy drowns; 
23   The soldiers' revels in the midst of pillage; 
24       The wail of famine in beleaguered towns; 

25   The bursting shell, the gateway wrenched asunder, 
26       The rattling musketry, the clashing blade; 
27   And ever and anon, in tones of thunder 
28       The diapason of the cannonade. 

29   Is it, O man, with such discordant noises, 
30       With such accursed instruments as these, 
31   Thou drownest Nature's sweet and kindly voices, 
32       And jarrest the celestial harmonies? 

33   Were half the power, that fills the world with terror, 
34       Were half the wealth bestowed on camps and courts, 
35   Given to redeem the human mind from error, 
36       There were no need of arsenals or forts: 

37   The warrior's name would be a name abhorred! 
38       And every nation, that should lift again 
39   Its hand against a brother, on its forehead 
40       Would wear forevermore the curse of Cain! 

41   Down the dark future, through long generations, 
42       The echoing sounds grow fainter and then cease; 
43   And like a bell, with solemn, sweet vibrations, 
44       I hear once more the voice of Christ say, "Peace!" 

45   Peace! and no longer from its brazen portals 
46       The blast of War's great organ shakes the skies! 
47   But beautiful as songs of the immortals, 
48       The holy melodies of love arise. 

The Building of The Ship

1     "Build me straight, O worthy Master! 
2     Stanch and strong, a goodly vessel, 
3     That shall laugh at all disaster, 
4     And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!" 

5     The merchant's word 
6     Delighted the Master heard; 
7     For his heart was in his work, and the heart 
8     Giveth grace unto every Art. 
9     A quiet smile played round his lips, 
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 glee, 
14   He answered, "Erelong we will launch 
15   A vessel as goodly, and strong, and stanch, 
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 yore, 
28   And above them all, and strangest of all 
29   Towered the Great Harry, crank and tall, 
30   Whose picture was hanging on the wall, 
31   With bows and stern raised high in air, 
32   And balconies hanging here and there, 
33   And signal lanterns and flags afloat, 
34   And eight round towers, like those that frown 
35   From some old castle, looking down 
36   Upon the drawbridge and the moat. 
37   And he said with a smile, "Our ship, I wis, 
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 blast, 
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 these, 
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 motion! 
66   There 's not a ship that sails the ocean, 
67   But every climate, every soil, 
68   Must bring its tribute, great or small, 
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 meaning. 
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 hand, 
92   When he had built and launched from land 
93   What the elder head had planned. 

94   "Thus," said he, "will we build this ship! 
95   Lay square the blocks upon the slip, 
96   And follow well this plan of mine. 
97   Choose the timbers with greatest care; 
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 sea 
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 pride 
111   Standing before 
112   Her father's door, 
113   He saw the form of his promised bride. 
114   The sun shone on her golden hair, 
115   And her cheek was glowing fresh and fair, 
116   With the breath of morn and the soft sea air. 
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 sea! 
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 bounds 
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 fell, 
136   The keel of oak for a noble ship, 
137   Scarfed and bolted, straight and strong, 
138   Was lying ready, and stretched along 
139   The blocks, well placed upon the slip. 
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 o'er, 
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 gales, 
151   Of pirates coasting the Spanish Main, 
152   And ships that never came back again, 
153   The chance and change of a sailor's life, 
154   Want and plenty, rest and strife, 
155   His roving fancy, like the wind, 
156   That nothing can stay and nothing can bind, 
157   And the magic charm of foreign lands, 
158   With shadows of palms, and shining sands, 
159   Where the tumbling surf, 
160   O'er the coral reefs of Madagascar,
161   Washes the feet of the swarthy Lascar, 
162   As he lies alone and asleep on the turf. 
163   And the trembling maiden held her breath 
164   At the tales of that awful, pitiless sea, 
165   With all its terror and mystery, 
166   The dim, dark sea, so like unto Death, 
167   That divides and yet unites mankind! 
168   And whenever the old man paused, a gleam 
169   From the bowl of his pipe would awhile illume 
170   The silent group in the twilight gloom, 
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 rest, 
175   Tenderly, on the young man's breast! 

176   Day by day the vessel grew, 
177   With timbers fashioned strong and true, 
178   Stemson and keelson and sternson-knee, 
179   Till, framed with perfect symmetry, 
180   A skeleton ship rose up to view! 
181   And around the bows and along the side 
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, upwreathing, 
188   Rose from the boiling, bubbling, seething 
189   Caldron, that glowed, 
190   And overflowed 
191   With the black tar, heated for the sheathing. 
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 Master, 
197       Staunch and strong, a goodly vessel, 
198   That shall laugh at all disaster, 
199       And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!" 

200   With oaken brace and copper band, 
201   Lay the rudder on the sand, 
202   That, like a thought, should have control 
203   Over the movement of the whole; 
204   And near it the anchor, whose giant hand 
205   Would reach down and grapple with the land, 
206   And immovable and fast 
207   Hold the great ship against the bellowing blast! 
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 mould, 
213   Not like a Nymph or Goddess of old, 
214   Or Naiad rising from the water, 
215   But modelled from the Master's daughter! 
216   On many a dreary and misty night, 
217   'T will be seen by the rays of the signal light, 
218   Speeding along through the rain and the dark, 
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 Maine, 
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 tall, 
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 see again. 
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 stars. 
252   Ah! when the wanderer, lonely, friendless, 
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 endless! 

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 blanched, 
263   And o'er the bay, 
264   Slowly, in all his splendors dight, 
265   The great sun rises to behold the sight. 

266   The ocean old, 
267   Centuries old, 
268   Strong as youth, and as uncontrolled, 
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 breast. 
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, blending, 
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 flock, 
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 force, 
315   The will from its moorings and its course. 
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 bound, 
321   Seems at its distant rim to rise 
322   And climb the crystal wall of the skies, 
323   And then again to turn and sink, 
324   As if we could slide from its outer brink. 
325   Ah! it is not the sea, 
326   It is not the sea that sinks and shelves, 
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 ocean. 
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 do, 
336   We shall sail securely, and safely reach 
337   The Fortunate Isles, on whose shining beach 
338   The sights we see, and the sounds we hear, 
339   Will be those of joy and not of fear!" 

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 feel 
350   The thrill of life along her keel, 
351   And, spurning with her foot the ground, 
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 loud, 
356   That to the ocean seemed to say, 
357   "Take her, O bridegroom, old and gray, 
358   Take her to thy protecting arms, 
359   With all her youth and all her charms!" 

360   How beautiful she is! How fair 
361   She lies within those arms, that press 
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 steer! 
366   The moistened eye, the trembling lip, 
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 State! 
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 steel, 
384   Who made each mast, and sail, and rope, 
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 shock, 
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 shore, 
394   Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea! 
395   Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee, 
396   Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears, 
397   Our faith triumphant o'er our fears, 
398   Are all with thee, -- are all with thee! 


1     An old man in a lodge within a park; 
2         The chamber walls depicted all around 
3         With 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; 
7         He listeneth and he laugheth at the sound, 
8         Then writeth in a book like any clerk. 
9     He is the poet of the dawn, who wrote 
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 note 
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 the night, 
2         A gentle face -- the face of one long dead -- 
3         Looks at me from the wall, where round its head 
4         The night-lamp casts a halo of pale light. 
5     Here in this room she died; and soul more white 
6         Never 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 West 
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. 

Divina Commedia


Written March 29, 1864. 

1.1     Oft have I seen at some cathedral door 
1.2         A laborer, pausing in the dust and heat, 
1.3         Lay down his burden, and with reverent feet 
1.4         Enter, and cross himself, and on the floor 
1.5     Kneel to repeat his paternoster o'er; 
1.6         Far off the noises of the world retreat; 
1.7         The loud vociferations of the street 
1.8         Become an undistinguishable roar. 
1.9     So, as I enter here from day to 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! 
2.2         This crowd of statues, in whose folded sleeves 
2.3         Birds build their nests; while canopied with leaves 
2.4         Parvis and portal bloom like trellised bowers, 
2.5     And the vast minster seems a cross of flowers! 
2.6         But fiends and dragons on the gargoyled eaves 
2.7         Watch the dead Christ between the living thieves, 
2.8         And, underneath, the traitor Judas lowers! 
2.9     Ah! from what agonies of heart and brain, 
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 pain, 
2.13       Uprose this poem of the earth and air, 
2.14       This mediæval miracle of song! 


Written December 22, 1865. 

3.1     I enter, and I see thee in the gloom 
3.2         Of the long aisles, O poet saturnine! 
3.3         And strive to make my steps keep pace with thine. 
3.4         The air is filled with some unknown perfume; 
3.5     The congregation of the dead make room 
3.6         For thee to pass; the votive tapers shine; 
3.7         Like rooks that haunt Ravenna's groves of pine 
3.8         The hovering echoes fly from tomb to tomb. 
3.9     From the confessionals I hear arise 
3.10       Rehearsals of forgotten tragedies, 
3.11       And lamentations from the crypts below; 
3.12   And then a voice celestial that begins 
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, 
4.2         She stands before thee, who so long ago 
4.3         Filled thy young heart with passion and the woe 
4.4         From which thy song and all its splendors came; 
4.5     And while with stern rebuke she speaks thy name, 
4.6         The ice about thy heart melts as the snow 
4.7         On mountain heights, and in swift overflow 
4.8         Comes 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 dream 
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 windows blaze 
5.2         With forms of Saints and holy men who died, 
5.3         Here martyred and hereafter glorified; 
5.4         And the great Rose upon its leaves displays 
5.5     Christ's Triumph, and the angelic roundelays, 
5.6         With splendor upon splendor multiplied; 
5.7         And Beatrice again at Dante's side 
5.8         No more rebukes, but smiles her words of praise. 
5.9     And then the organ sounds, and unseen choirs 
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 spires 
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 liberty! 
6.2         O bringer of the light, whose splendor shines 
6.3         Above the darkness of the Apennines, 
6.4         Forerunner of the day that is to be! 
6.5     The voices of the city and the sea, 
6.6         The voices of the mountains and the pines, 
6.7         Repeat thy song, till the familiar lines 
6.8         Are 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 proselytes, 
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 West, 
2         Whose panes the sunken sun incarnadines, 
3         Like a fair lady at her casement, shines 
4         The evening star, the star of love and rest! 
5     And then anon she doth herself divest 
6         Of all her radiant garments, and reclines 
7         Behind the sombre screen of yonder pines, 
8         With slumber and soft dreams of love oppressed. 
9     O my beloved, my sweet Hesperus! 
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


1     We sat within the farm-house old, 
2         Whose windows, looking o'er the bay, 
3     Gave to the sea-breeze damp and cold, 
4         An easy entrance, night and day. 

5     Not far away we saw the port, 
6         The strange, old-fashioned, silent town, 
7     The lighthouse, the dismantled fort, 
8         The wooden houses, quaint and brown. 

9     We sat and talked until the night, 
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 been, 
16       And who was changed, and who was dead; 

17   And all that fills the hearts of friends, 
18       When first they feel, with secret pain, 
19   Their lives thenceforth have separate ends, 
20       And never can be one again; 

21   The first slight swerving of the heart, 
22       That words are powerless to express, 
23   And leave it still unsaid in part, 
24       Or say it in too great excess. 

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 failed, 
34       We thought of wrecks upon the main, 
35   Of ships dismasted, that were hailed 
36       And sent no answer back again. 

37   The windows, rattling in their frames, 
38       The ocean, roaring up the beach, 
39   The gusty blast, the bickering flames, 
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 yearned! 
46       They were indeed too much akin, 
47   The drift-wood fire without that burned, 
48       The thoughts that burned and glowed within. 

Hymn To The Night

Aspasie, trillistos. 

1     I heard the trailing garments of the Night 
2         Sweep through her marble halls! 
3     I saw her sable skirts all fringed with light 
4         From the celestial walls! 

5     I felt her presence, by its spell of might, 
6         Stoop o'er me from above; 
7     The calm, majestic presence of the Night, 
8         As of the one I love. 

9     I heard the sounds of sorrow and delight, 
10       The manifold, soft chimes, 
11   That fill the haunted chambers of the Night, 
12       Like some old poet's rhymes. 

13   From the cool cisterns of the midnight air 
14       My spirit drank repose; 
15   The fountain of perpetual peace flows there, -- 
16       From those deep cisterns flows. 

17   O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear 
18       What man has borne before! 
19   Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Care, 
20       And they complain no more. 

21   Peace! Peace! Orestes-like I breathe this prayer! 
22       Descend with broad-winged flight, 
23   The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the most fair, 
24       The best-beloved Night!

Page 1  |    |   3

Home | Public Domain Poetry

Art and
                                Photography Unleased
Gathered in
One Thousand
P. S. Annie
                                Thoughts and Observations
                                Thoughts by Suzanne
Redneck MBA
Reviews By
Texas Art
                                & Photography Unleased
Lamb Shop
Leo's Palace
Lucky Logans
Stitchety Do
View David Eric McClendon's profile
                                on LinkedIn
                                pappalion on Twitter

Yelp button

David E. McClendon

Create Your Badge
Independent Sales Consultant

Hot Offers
Cheesecake FREE Shipping on 4 bags or
                                        more 125x125

I review for BookSneeze®