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Leo's Palace

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

The Jewish Cemetery at  Newport

1     How strange it seems! These Hebrews in their graves, 
2         Close by the street of this fair seaport town, 
3     Silent beside the never-silent waves, 
4         At rest in all this moving up and down! 

5     The trees are white with dust, that o'er their sleep 
6         Wave their broad curtains in the south-wind's breath, 
7     While underneath these leafy tents they keep 
8         The long, mysterious Exodus of Death. 

9     And these sepulchral stones, so old and brown, 
10       That pave with level flags their burial-place, 
11   Seem like the tablets of the Law, thrown down 
12       And broken by Moses at the mountain's base. 

13   The very names recorded here are strange, 
14       Of foreign accent, and of different climes; 
15   Alvares and Rivera interchange 
16       With Abraham and Jacob of old times. 

17   "Blessed be God! for he created Death!" 
18       The mourners said, "and Death is rest and peace;" 
19   Then added, in the certainty of faith, 
20       "And giveth Life that nevermore shall cease." 

21   Closed are the portals of their Synagogue, 
22       No Psalms of David now the silence break, 
23   No Rabbi reads the ancient Decalogue 
24       In the grand dialect the Prophets spake. 

25   Gone are the living, but the dead remain, 
26       And not neglected; for a hand unseen, 
27   Scattering its bounty, like a summer rain, 
28       Still keeps their graves and their remembrance green. 

29   How came they here? What burst of Christian hate, 
30       What persecution, merciless and blind, 
31   Drove o'er the sea -- that desert desolate -- 
32       These Ishmaels and Hagars of mankind? 

33   They lived in narrow streets and lanes obscure, 
34       Ghetto and Judenstrass, in mirk and mire; 
35   Taught in the school of patience to endure 
36       The life of anguish and the death of fire. 

37   All their lives long, with the unleavened bread 
38       And bitter herbs of exile and its fears, 
39   The wasting famine of the heart they fed, 
40       And slaked its thirst with marah of their tears. 

41   Anathema maranatha! was the cry 
42       That rang from town to town, from street to street; 
43   At every gate the accursed Mordecai 
44       Was mocked and jeered, and spurned by Christian feet. 

45   Pride and humiliation hand in hand 
46       Walked with them through the world where'er they went; 
47   Trampled and beaten were they as the sand, 
48       And yet unshaken as the continent. 

49   For in the background figures vague and vast 
50       Of patriarchs and of prophets rose sublime, 
51   And all the great traditions of the Past 
52       They saw reflected in the coming time. 

53   And thus forever with reverted look 
54       The mystic volume of the world they read, 
55   Spelling it backward, like a Hebrew book, 
56       Till life became a Legend of the Dead. 

57   But ah! what once has been shall be no more! 
58       The groaning earth in travail and in pain 
59   Brings forth its races, but does not restore, 
60       And the dead nations never rise again. 


1     The young Endymion sleeps Endymion's sleep; 
2         The shepherd-boy whose tale was left half told! 
3         The solemn grove uplifts its shield of gold 
4         To the red rising moon, and loud and deep 
5     The nightingale is singing from the steep; 
6         It is midsummer, but the air is cold; 
7         Can it be death? Alas, beside the fold 
8         A shepherd's pipe lies shattered near his sheep. 
9     Lo! in the moonlight gleams a marble white, 
10       On which I read: "Here lieth one whose name 
11       Was writ in water." And was this the meed 
12   Of his sweet singing? Rather let me write: 
13       "The smoking flax before it burst to flame 
14       Was quenched by death, and broken the bruised reed." 

The  Landlord's  Tale. Paul  Revere's  Ride

1     Listen, my children, and you shall hear 
2     Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, 
3     On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five; 
4     Hardly a man is now alive 
5     Who remembers that famous day and year. 

6     He said to his friend, "If the British march
7     By land or sea from the town to-night, 
8     Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch 
9     Of the North Church tower as a signal light,-- 
10   One, if by land, and two, if by sea; 
11   And I on the opposite shore will be, 
12   Ready to ride and spread the alarm 
13   Through every Middlesex village and farm, 
14   For the country folk to be up and to arm." 
15   Then he said, "Good night!" and with muffled oar 
16   Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore, 
17   Just as the moon rose over the bay, 
18   Where swinging wide at her moorings lay 
19   The Somerset, British man-of-war; 
20   A phantom ship, with each mast and spar 
21   Across the moon like a prison bar, 
22   And a huge black hulk, that was magnified 
23   By its own reflection in the tide. 

24   Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street, 
25   Wanders and watches with eager ears, 
26   Till in the silence around him he hears 
27   The muster of men at the barrack door, 
28   The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet, 
29   And the measured tread of the grenadiers, 
30   Marching down to their boats on the shore. 

31   Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church, 
32   By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread, 
33   To the belfry-chamber overhead, 
34   And startled the pigeons from their perch 
35   On the sombre rafters, that round him made 
36   Masses and moving shapes of shade, -- 
37   By the trembling ladder, steep and tall, 
38   To the highest window in the wall, 
39   Where he paused to listen and look down 
40   A moment on the roofs of the town, 
41   And the moonlight flowing over all. 
42   Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead, 
43   In their night-encampment on the hill, 
44   Wrapped in silence so deep and still 
45   That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread, 
46   The watchful night-wind, as it went 
47   Creeping along from tent to tent, 
48   And seeming to whisper, "All is well!" 
49   A moment only he feels the spell 
50   Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread 
51   Of the lonely belfry and the dead; 
52   For suddenly all his thoughts are bent 
53   On a shadowy something far away, 
54   Where the river widens to meet the bay, -- 
55   A line of black that bends and floats 
56   On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats. 

57   Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride, 
58   Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride 
59   On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere. 
60   Now he patted his horse's side, 
61   Now gazed at the landscape far and near, 
62   Then, impetuous, stamped the earth, 
63   And turned and tightened his saddle girth; 
64   But mostly he watched with eager search 
65   The belfry-tower of the Old North Church, 
66   As it rose above the graves on the hill, 
67   Lonely and spectral and sombre and still. 
68   And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height 
69   A glimmer, and then a gleam of light! 
70   He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns, 
71   But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight 
72   A second lamp in the belfry burns! 
73   A hurry of hoofs in a village street, 
74   A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark, 
75   And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark 
76   Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet: 
77   That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light, 
78   The fate of a nation was riding that night; 
79   And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight, 
80   Kindled the land into flame with its heat. 
81   He has left the village and mounted the steep, 
82   And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep, 
83   Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides; 
84   And under the alders, that skirt its edge, 
85   Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge, 
86   Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides. 

87   It was twelve by the village clock, 
88   When he crossed the bridge into Medford town. 
89   He heard the crowing of the cock, 
90   And the barking of the farmer's dog, 
91   And felt the damp of the river fog, 
92   That rises after the sun goes down. 

93   It was one by the village clock, 
94   When he galloped into Lexington. 
95   He saw the gilded weathercock 
96   Swim in the moonlight as he passed, 
97   And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare, 
98   Gaze at him with a spectral glare, 
99   As if they already stood aghast 
100   At the bloody work they would look upon. 

101   It was two by the village clock, 
102   When he came to the bridge in Concord town. 
103   He heard the bleating of the flock, 
104   And the twitter of birds among the trees, 
105   And felt the breath of the morning breeze 
106   Blowing over the meadows brown. 
107   And one was safe and asleep in his bed 
108   Who at the bridge would be first to fall, 
109   Who that day would be lying dead, 
110   Pierced by a British musket-ball. 

111   You know the rest. In the books you have read, 
112   How the British Regulars fired and fled, -- 
113   How the farmers gave them ball for ball, 
114   From behind each fence and farm-yard wall, 
115   Chasing the red-coats down the lane, 
116   Then crossing the fields to emerge again 
117   Under the trees at the turn of the road, 
118   And only pausing to fire and load. 

119   So through the night rode Paul Revere; 
120   And so through the night went his cry of alarm 
121   To every Middlesex village and farm, -- 
122   A cry of defiance and not of fear, 
123   A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door, 
124   And a word that shall echo forevermore! 
125   For, borne on the night-wind of the Past, 
126   Through all our history, to the last, 
127   In the hour of darkness and peril and need, 
128   The people will waken and listen to hear 
129   The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed, 
130   And the midnight message of Paul Revere. 

Mezzo Cammin

1     Half of my life is gone, and I have let 
2         The years slip from me and have not fulfilled 
3         The aspiration of my youth, to build 
4         Some tower of song with lofty parapet. 
5     Not indolence, nor pleasure, nor the fret 
6         Of restless passions that would not be stilled, 
7         But sorrow, and a care that almost killed, 
8         Kept me from what I may accomplish yet; 
9     Though, half-way up the hill, I see the Past 
10       Lying beneath me with its sounds and sights, -- 
11       A city in the twilight dim and vast, 
12   With smoking roofs, soft bells, and gleaming lights, -- 
13       And hear above me on the autumnal blast 
14       The cataract of Death far thundering from the heights. 


1     I pace the sounding sea-beach and behold 
2         How the voluminous billows roll and run, 
3         Upheaving and subsiding, while the sun 
4         Shines through their sheeted emerald far unrolled, 
5     And the ninth wave, slow gathering fold by fold 
6         All its loose-flowing garments into one, 
7         Plunges upon the shore, and floods the dun 
8         Pale reach of sands, and changes them to gold. 
9     So in majestic cadence rise and fall 
10       The mighty undulations of thy song, 
11       O sightless bard, England's Mæonides! 
12   And ever and anon, high over all 
13       Uplifted, a ninth wave superb and strong, 
14       Floods all the soul with its melodious seas. 

Morituri Salutamus Poem For The Fiftieth Anniversary Of The Class Of 1825 In Bowdoin College

Tempora labuntur, tacitisque senescimus annis, 
     Et fugiunt freno non remorante dies. 
                     Ovid, Fastorum, Lib. vi. 

1     "O Cæsar, we who are about to die 
2     Salute you!" was the gladiators' cry 
3     In the arena, standing face to face 
4     With death and with the Roman populace. 

5     O ye familiar scenes,--ye groves of pine, 
6     That once were mine and are no longer mine,-- 
7     Thou river, widening through the meadows green 
8     To the vast sea, so near and yet unseen,-- 
9     Ye halls, in whose seclusion and repose 

10   Phantoms of fame, like exhalations, rose 
11   And vanished,--we who are about to die, 
12   Salute you; earth and air and sea and sky, 
13   And the Imperial Sun that scatters down 
14   His sovereign splendors upon grove and town. 

15   Ye do not answer us! ye do not hear! 
16   We are forgotten; and in your austere 
17   And calm indifference, ye little care 
18   Whether we come or go, or whence or where. 
19   What passing generations fill these halls, 
20   What passing voices echo from these walls, 
21   Ye heed not; we are only as the blast, 
22   A moment heard, and then forever past. 

23   Not so the teachers who in earlier days 
24   Led our bewildered feet through learning's maze; 
25   They answer us--alas! what have I said? 
26   What greetings come there from the voiceless dead? 
27   What salutation, welcome, or reply? 
28   What pressure from the hands that lifeless lie? 
29   They are no longer here; they all are gone 
30   Into the land of shadows,--all save one. 
31   Honor and reverence, and the good repute 
32   That follows faithful service as its fruit, 
33   Be unto him, whom living we salute. 

34   The great Italian poet, when he made 
35   His dreadful journey to the realms of shade, 
36   Met there the old instructor of his youth, 
37   And cried in tones of pity and of ruth: 
38   "Oh, never from the memory of my heart 

39   Your dear, paternal image shall depart, 
40   Who while on earth, ere yet by death surprised, 
41   Taught me how mortals are immortalized; 
42   How grateful am I for that patient care 
43   All my life long my language shall declare." 

44   To-day we make the poet's words our own, 
45   And utter them in plaintive undertone; 
46   Nor to the living only be they said, 
47   But to the other living called the dead, 
48   Whose dear, paternal images appear 
49   Not wrapped in gloom, but robed in sunshine here; 
50   Whose simple lives, complete and without flaw, 
51   Were part and parcel of great Nature's law; 
52   Who said not to their Lord, as if afraid, 
53   "Here is thy talent in a napkin laid," 
54   But labored in their sphere, as men who live 
55   In the delight that work alone can give. 
56   Peace be to them; eternal peace and rest, 
57   And the fulfilment of the great behest: 
58   "Ye have been faithful over a few things, 
59   Over ten cities shall ye reign as kings." 

60   And ye who fill the places we once filled, 
61   And follow in the furrows that we tilled, 
62   Young men, whose generous hearts are beating high, 
63   We who are old, and are about to die, 
64   Salute you; hail you; take your hands in ours, 
65   And crown you with our welcome as with flowers! 

66   How beautiful is youth! how bright it gleams 
67   With its illusions, aspirations, dreams! 
68   Book of Beginnings, Story without End, 
69   Each maid a heroine, and each man a friend! 
70   Aladdin's Lamp, and Fortunatus' Purse, 
71   That holds the treasures of the universe! 
72   All possibilities are in its hands, 
73   No danger daunts it, and no foe withstands; 
74   In its sublime audacity of faith, 
75   "Be thou removed!" it to the mountain saith, 
76   And with ambitious feet, secure and proud, 
77   Ascends the ladder leaning on the cloud! 

78   As ancient Priam at the Scæan gate 
79   Sat on the walls of Troy in regal state 
80   With the old men, too old and weak to fight, 
81   Chirping like grasshoppers in their delight 
82   To see the embattled hosts, with spear and shield, 
83   Of Trojans and Achaians in the field; 
84   So from the snowy summits of our years 
85   We see you in the plain, as each appears, 
86   And question of you; asking, "Who is he 
87   That towers above the others? Which may be 
88   Atreides, Menelaus, Odysseus, 
89   Ajax the great, or bold Idomeneus?" 

90   Let him not boast who puts his armor on 
91   As he who puts it off, the battle done. 
92   Study yourselves; and most of all note well 
93   Wherein kind Nature meant you to excel. 
94   Not every blossom ripens into fruit; 
95   Minerva, the inventress of the flute, 
96   Flung it aside, when she her face surveyed 
97   Distorted in a fountain as she played; 
98   The unlucky Marsyas found it, and his fate 
99   Was one to make the bravest hesitate. 

100   Write on your doors the saying wise and old, 
101   "Be bold! be bold!" and everywhere, "Be bold; 
102   Be not too bold!" Yet better the excess 
103   Than the defect; better the more than less; 
104   Better like Hector in the field to die, 
105   Than like a perfumed Paris turn and fly. 

106   And now, my classmates; ye remaining few 
107   That number not the half of those we knew, 
108   Ye, against whose familiar names not yet 
109   The fatal asterisk of death is set, 
110   Ye I salute! The horologe of Time 
111   Strikes the half-century with a solemn chime, 
112   And summons us together once again, 
113   The joy of meeting not unmixed with pain. 

114   Where are the others? Voices from the deep 
115   Caverns of darkness answer me: "They sleep!" 
116   I name no names; instinctively I feel 
117   Each at some well-remembered grave will kneel, 
118   And from the inscription wipe the weeds and moss, 
119   For every heart best knoweth its own loss. 
120   I see their scattered gravestones gleaming white 
121   Through the pale dusk of the impending night; 
122   O'er all alike the impartial sunset throws 
123   Its golden lilies mingled with the rose; 
124   We give to each a tender thought, and pass 
125   Out of the graveyards with their tangled grass, 
126   Unto these scenes frequented by our feet 
127   When we were young, and life was fresh and sweet. 

128   What shall I say to you? What can I say 
129   Better than silence is? When I survey 
130   This throng of faces turned to meet my own, 
131   Friendly and fair, and yet to me unknown, 
132   Transformed the very landscape seems to be; 
133   It is the same, yet not the same to me. 
134   So many memories crowd upon my brain, 
135   So many ghosts are in the wooded plain, 
136   I fain would steal away, with noiseless tread, 
137   As from a house where some one lieth dead. 
138   I cannot go;--I pause;--I hesitate; 
139   My feet reluctant linger at the gate; 
140   As one who struggles in a troubled dream 
141   To speak and cannot, to myself I seem. 

142   Vanish the dream! Vanish the idle fears! 
143   Vanish the rolling mists of fifty years! 
144   Whatever time or space may intervene, 
145   I will not be a stranger in this scene. 
146   Here every doubt, all indecision, ends; 
147   Hail, my companions, comrades, classmates, friends! 

148   Ah me! the fifty years since last we met 
149   Seem to me fifty folios bound and set 
150   By Time, the great transcriber, on his shelves, 
151   Wherein are written the histories of ourselves. 
152   What tragedies, what comedies, are there; 
153   What joy and grief, what rapture and despair! 
154   What chronicles of triumph and defeat, 
155   Of struggle, and temptation, and retreat! 
156   What records of regrets, and doubts, and fears! 
157   What pages blotted, blistered by our tears! 
158   What lovely landscapes on the margin shine, 
159   What sweet, angelic faces, what divine 
160   And holy images of love and trust, 
161   Undimmed by age, unsoiled by damp or dust! 
162   Whose hand shall dare to open and explore 
163   These volumes, closed and clasped forevermore? 
164   Not mine. With reverential feet I pass; 
165   I hear a voice that cries, "Alas! alas! 
166   Whatever hath been written shall remain, 
167   Nor be erased nor written o'er again; 
168   The unwritten only still belongs to thee: 
169   Take heed, and ponder well what that shall be." 

170   As children frightened by a thunder-cloud 
171   Are reassured if some one reads aloud 
172   A tale of wonder, with enchantment fraught, 
173   Or wild adventure, that diverts their thought, 
174   Let me endeavor with a tale to chase 
175   The gathering shadows of the time and place, 
176   And banish what we all too deeply feel 
177   Wholly to say, or wholly to conceal. 

178   In mediæval Rome, I know not where, 
179   There stood an image with its arm in air, 
180   And on its lifted finger, shining clear, 
181   A golden ring with the device, "Strike here!" 
182   Greatly the people wondered, though none guessed 
183   The meaning that these words but half expressed, 
184   Until a learned clerk, who at noonday 
185   With downcast eyes was passing on his way, 
186   Paused, and observed the spot, and marked it well, 
187   Whereon the shadow of the finger fell; 
188   And, coming back at midnight, delved, and found 
189   A secret stairway leading underground. 
190   Down this he passed into a spacious hall, 
191   Lit by a flaming jewel on the wall; 
192   And opposite, in threatening attitude, 
193   With bow and shaft a brazen statue stood. 
194   Upon its forehead, like a coronet, 
195   Were these mysterious words of menace set: 
196   "That which I am, I am; my fatal aim 
197   None can escape, not even yon luminous flame!" 

198   Midway the hall was a fair table placed, 
199   With cloth of gold, and golden cups enchased 
200   With rubies, and the plates and knives were gold, 
201   And gold the bread and viands manifold. 
202   Around it, silent, motionless, and sad, 
203   Were seated gallant knights in armor clad, 
204   And ladies beautiful with plume and zone, 
205   But they were stone, their hearts within were stone; 
206   And the vast hall was filled in every part 
207   With silent crowds, stony in face and heart. 

208   Long at the scene, bewildered and amazed 
209   The trembling clerk in speechless wonder gazed; 
210   Then from the table, by his greed made bold, 
211   He seized a goblet and a knife of gold, 
212   And suddenly from their seats the guests upsprang, 
213   The vaulted ceiling with loud clamors rang, 
214   The archer sped his arrow, at their call, 
215   Shattering the lambent jewel on the wall, 
216   And all was dark around and overhead;-- 
217   Stark on the floor the luckless clerk lay dead! 

218   The writer of this legend then records 
219   Its ghostly application in these words: 
220   The image is the Adversary old, 
221   Whose beckoning finger points to realms of gold; 
222   Our lusts and passions are the downward stair 
223   That leads the soul from a diviner air; 
224   The archer, Death; the flaming jewel, Life; 
225   Terrestrial goods, the goblet and the knife; 
226   The knights and ladies, all whose flesh and bone 
227   By avarice have been hardened into stone; 
228   The clerk, the scholar whom the love of pelf 
229   Tempts from his books and from his nobler self. 

230   The scholar and the world! The endless strife, 
231   The discord in the harmonies of life! 
232   The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, 
233   And all the sweet serenity of books; 
234   The market-place, the eager love of gain, 
235   Whose aim is vanity, and whose end is pain! 

236   But why, you ask me, should this tale be told 
237   To men grown old, or who are growing old? 
238   It is too late! Ah, nothing is too late 
239   Till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate. 
240   Cato learned Greek at eighty; Sophocles 
241   Wrote his grand Oedipus, and Simonides 
242   Bore off the prize of verse from his compeers, 
243   When each had numbered more than fourscore years, 
244   And Theophrastus, at fourscore and ten, 
245   Had but begun his "Characters of Men." 
246   Chaucer, at Woodstock with the nightingales, 
247   At sixty wrote the Canterbury Tales; 
248   Goethe at Weimar, toiling to the last, 
249   Completed Faust when eighty years were past. 
250   These are indeed exceptions; but they show 
251   How far the gulf-stream of our youth may flow 
252   Into the arctic regions of our lives, 
253   Where little else than life itself survives. 
254   As the barometer foretells the storm 
255   While still the skies are clear, the weather warm 
256   So something in us, as old age draws near, 
257   Betrays the pressure of the atmosphere. 
258   The nimble mercury, ere we are aware, 
259   Descends the elastic ladder of the air; 
260   The telltale blood in artery and vein 
261   Sinks from its higher levels in the brain; 
262   Whatever poet, orator, or sage 
263   May say of it, old age is still old age. 
264   It is the waning, not the crescent moon; 
265   The dusk of evening, not the blaze of noon; 
266   It is not strength, but weakness; not desire, 
267   But its surcease; not the fierce heat of fire, 
268   The burning and consuming element, 
269   But that of ashes and of embers spent, 
270   In which some living sparks we still discern, 
271   Enough to warm, but not enough to burn. 

272   What then? Shall we sit idly down and say 
273   The night hath come; it is no longer day? 
274   The night hath not yet come; we are not quite 
275   Cut off from labor by the failing light; 
276   Something remains for us to do or dare; 
277   Even the oldest tree some fruit may bear; 
278   Not Oedipus Coloneus, or Greek Ode, 
279   Or tales of pilgrims that one morning rode 
280   Out of the gateway of the Tabard Inn, 
281   But other something, would we but begin; 
282   For age is opportunity no less 
283   Than youth itself, though in another dress, 
284   And as the evening twilight fades away 
285   The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day. 

My Lost Youth

1     Often I think of the beautiful town 
2         That is seated by the sea; 
3     Often in thought go up and down 
4     The pleasant streets of that dear old town, 
5         And my youth comes back to me. 
6             And a verse of a Lapland song 
7             Is haunting my memory still: 
8         "A boy's will is the wind's will, 
9     And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

10   I can see the shadowy lines of its trees, 
11       And catch, in sudden gleams, 
12   The sheen of the far-surrounding seas, 
13   And islands that were the Hesperides 
14       Of all my boyish dreams. 
15           And the burden of that old song, 
16           It murmurs and whispers still: 
17       "A boy's will is the wind's will, 
18   And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

19   I remember the black wharves and the slips, 
20       And the sea-tides tossing free; 
21   And Spanish sailors with bearded lips, 
22   And the beauty and mystery of the ships, 
23       And the magic of the sea. 
24           And the voice of that wayward song 
25           Is singing and saying still: 
26       "A boy's will is the wind's will, 
27   And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

28   I remember the bulwarks by the shore, 
29       And the fort upon the hill; 
30   The sunrise gun, with its hollow roar, 
31   The drum-beat repeated o'er and o'er, 
32       And the bugle wild and shrill. 
33           And the music of that old song 
34           Throbs in my memory still: 
35       "A boy's will is the wind's will, 
36   And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

37   I remember the sea-fight far away, 
38       How it thundered o'er the tide! 
39   And the dead captains, as they lay 
40   In their graves, o'erlooking the tranquil bay, 
41       Where they in battle died. 
42           And the sound of that mournful song 
43           Goes through me with a thrill: 
44       "A boy's will is the wind's will, 
45   And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

46   I can see the breezy dome of groves, 
47       The shadows of Deering's Woods; 
48   And the friendships old and the early loves 
49   Come back with a Sabbath sound, as of doves 
50       In quiet neighborhoods. 
51           And the verse of that sweet old song, 
52           It flutters and murmurs still: 
53       "A boy's will is the wind's will, 
54   And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

55   I remember the gleams and glooms that dart 
56       Across the school-boy's brain; 
57   The song and the silence in the heart, 
58   That in part are prophecies, and in part 
59       Are longings wild and vain. 
60           And the voice of that fitful song 
61           Sings on, and is never still: 
62       "A boy's will is the wind's will, 
63   And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

64   There are things of which I may not speak; 
65       There are dreams that cannot die; 
66   There are thoughts that make the strong heart weak, 
67   And bring a pallor into the cheek, 
68       And a mist before the eye. 
69           And the words of that fatal song
70           Come over me like a chill: 
71       "A boy's will is the wind's will, 
72   And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

73   Strange to me now are the forms I meet 
74       When I visit the dear old town; 
75   But the native air is pure and sweet, 
76   And the trees that o'ershadow each well-known street, 
77       As they balance up and down, 
78           Are singing the beautiful song, 
79           Are sighing and whispering still: 
80       "A boy's will is the wind's will, 
81   And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

82   And Deering's Woods are fresh and fair, 
83       And with joy that is almost pain 
84   My heart goes back to wander there, 
85   And among the dreams of the days that were, 
86       I find my lost youth again. 
87           And the strange and beautiful song, 
88           The groves are repeating it still: 
89       "A boy's will is the wind's will, 
90   And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 


1     As a fond mother, when the day is o'er, 
2         Leads by the hand her little child to bed, 
3         Half willing, half reluctant to be led, 
4         And leave his broken playthings on the floor, 
5     Still gazing at them through the open door, 
6         Nor wholly reassured and comforted 
7         By promises of others in their stead, 
8         Which, though more splendid, may not please him more; 
9     So Nature deals with us, and takes away 
10       Our playthings one by one, and by the hand 
11       Leads us to rest so gently, that we go 
12   Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay, 
13       Being too full of sleep to understand 
14       How far the unknown transcends the what we know. 


1     In the valley of the Pegnitz, where across broad meadow-lands 
2     Rise the blue Franconian mountains, Nuremberg, the ancient, stands. 

3     Quaint old town of toil and traffic, quaint old town of art and song, 
4     Memories haunt thy pointed gables, like the rooks that round them throng: 

5     Memories of the Middle Ages, when the emperors, rough and bold, 
6     Had their dwelling in thy castle, time-defying, centuries old; 

7     And thy brave and thrifty burghers boasted, in their uncouth rhyme, 
8     That their great imperial city stretched its hand through every clime. 

9     In the court-yard of the castle, bound with many an iron band, 
10   Stands the mighty linden planted by Queen Cunigunde's hand; 

11   On the square the oriel window, where in old heroic days 
12   Sat the poet Melchior singing Kaiser Maximilian's praise. 

13   Everywhere I see around me rise the wondrous world of Art: 
14   Fountains wrought with richest sculpture standing in the common mart; 

15   And above cathedral doorways saints and bishops carved in stone, 
16   By a former age commissioned as apostles to our own. 

17   In the church of sainted Sebald sleeps enshrined his holy dust, 
18   And in bronze the Twelve Apostles guard from age to age their trust; 

19   In the church of sainted Lawrence stands a pix of sculpture rare, 
20   Like the foamy sheaf of fountains, rising through the painted air. 

21   Here, when Art was still religion, with a simple, reverent heart, 
22   Lived and labored Albrecht Dürer, the Evangelist of Art; 

23   Hence in silence and in sorrow, toiling still with busy hand, 
24   Like an emigrant he wandered, seeking for the Better Land. 

25   Emigravit is the inscription on the tomb-stone where he lies; 
26   Dead he is not, but departed, -- for the artist never dies. 

27   Fairer seems the ancient city, and the sunshine seems more fair, 
28   That he once has trod its pavement, that he once has breathed its air! 

29   Through these streets so broad and stately, these obscure and dismal lanes, 
30   Walked of yore the Mastersingers, chanting rude poetic strains. 

31   From remote and sunless suburbs came they to the friendly guild, 
32   Building nests in Fame's great temple, as in spouts the swallows build. 

33   As the weaver plied the shuttle, wove he too the mystic rhyme, 
34   And the smith his iron measures hammered to the anvil's chime; 

35   Thanking God, whose boundless wisdom makes the flowers of poesy bloom 
36   In the forge's dust and cinders, in the tissues of the loom. 

37   Here Hans Sachs, the cobbler-poet, laureate of the gentle craft, 
38   Wisest of the Twelve Wise Masters, in huge folios sang and laughed. 

39   But his house is now an ale-house, with a nicely sanded floor, 
40   And a garland in the window, and his face above the door; 

41   Painted by some humble artist, as in Adam Puschman's song, 
42   As the old man gray and dove-like, with his great beard white and long. 

43   And at night the swart mechanic comes to drown his cark and care, 
44   Quaffing ale from pewter tankards, in the master's antique chair. 

45   Vanished is the ancient splendor, and before my dreamy eye 
46   Wave these mingled shapes and figures, like a faded tapestry. 

47   Not thy Councils, not thy Kaisers, win for thee the world's regard; 
48   But thy painter, Albrecht Dürer, and Hans Sachs thy cobbler bard. 

49   Thus, O Nuremberg, a wanderer from a region far away, 
50   As he paced thy streets and court-yards, sang in thought his careless lay: 

51   Gathering from the pavement's crevice, as a floweret of the soil, 
52   The nobility of labor, -- the long pedigree of toil. 

The Old Clock On The Stairs

1     Somewhat back from the village street 
2     Stands the old-fashioned country-seat. 
3     Across its antique portico 
4     Tall poplar-trees their shadows throw; 
5     And from its station in the hall 
6     An ancient timepiece says to all, -- 
7         "Forever -- never! 
8         Never -- forever!" 

9     Half-way up the stairs it stands, 
10   And points and beckons with its hands 
11   From its case of massive oak, 
12   Like a monk, who, under his cloak, 
13   Crosses himself, and sighs, alas! 
14   With sorrowful voice to all who pass, -- 
15       "Forever -- never! 
16       Never -- forever!" 

17   By day its voice is low and light; 
18   But in the silent dead of night, 
19   Distinct as a passing footstep's fall, 
20   It echoes along the vacant hall, 
21   Along the ceiling, along the floor, 
22   And seems to say, at each chamber-door, -- 
23       "Forever -- never! 
24       Never -- forever!" 

25   Through days of sorrow and of mirth, 
26   Through days of death and days of birth, 
27   Through every swift vicissitude 
28   Of changeful time, unchanged it has stood, 
29   And as if, like God, it all things saw, 
30   It calmly repeats those words of awe, -- 
31       "Forever -- never! 
32       Never -- forever!" 

33   In that mansion used to be 
34   Free-hearted Hospitality; 
35   His great fires up the chimney roared; 
36   The stranger feasted at his board; 
37   But, like the skeleton at the feast, 
38   That warning timepiece never ceased, -- 
39       "Forever -- never! 
40       Never -- forever!" 

41   There groups of merry children played, 
42   There youths and maidens dreaming strayed; 
43   O precious hours! O golden prime, 
44   And affluence of love and time! 
45   Even as a miser counts his gold, 
46   Those hours the ancient timepiece told, -- 
47       "Forever -- never! 
48       Never -- forever!" 

49   From that chamber, clothed in white, 
50   The bride came forth on her wedding night; 
51   There, in that silent room below, 
52   The dead lay in his shroud of snow; 
53   And in the hush that followed the prayer, 
54   Was heard the old clock on the stair, -- 
55       "Forever -- never! 
56       Never -- forever!" 

57   All are scattered now and fled, 
58   Some are married, some are dead; 
59   And when I ask, with throbs of pain, 
60   "Ah! when shall they all meet again?" 
61   As in the days long since gone by, 
62   The ancient timepiece makes reply, -- 
63       "Forever -- never! 
64       Never -- forever!" 

65   Never here, forever there, 
66   Where all parting, pain, and care, 
67   And death, and time shall disappear, -- 
68   Forever there, but never here! 
69   The horologe of Eternity 
70   Sayeth this incessantly, -- 
71       "Forever -- never! 
72       Never -- forever!" 

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