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Best Famous Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poems. This is a select list of the best famous Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poems.

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Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |

The Tide Rises the Tide Falls

The tide rises, the tide falls, 
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls; 
Along the sea-sands damp and brown 
The traveller hastens toward the town, 
  And the tide rises, the tide falls.
Darkness settles on roofs and walls, But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls; The little waves, with their soft, white hands, Efface the footprints in the sands, And the tide rises, the tide falls.
The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls; The day returns, but nevermore Returns the traveller to the shore, And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |

The Day is Done

THE DAY is done and the darkness 
Falls from the wings of Night  
As a feather is wafted downward 
From an eagle in his flight.
I see the lights of the village 5 Gleam through the rain and the mist And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me That my soul cannot resist: A feeling of sadness and longing That is not akin to pain 10 And resembles sorrow only As the mist resembles the rain.
Come read to me some poem Some simple and heartfelt lay That shall soothe this restless feeling 15 And banish the thoughts of day.
Not from the grand old masters Not from the bards sublime Whose distant footsteps echo Through the corridors of Time.
20 For like strains of martial music Their mighty thoughts suggest Life's endless toil and endeavor; And to-night I long for rest.
Read from some humbler poet 25 Whose songs gushed from his heart As showers from the clouds of summer Or tears from the eyelids start; Who through long days of labor And nights devoid of ease 30 Still heard in his soul the music Of wonderful melodies.
Such songs have power to quiet The restless pulse of care And come like the benediction 35 That follows after prayer.
Then read from the treasured volume The poem of thy choice And lend to the rhyme of the poet The beauty of thy voice.
40 And the night shall be filled with music And the cares that infest the day Shall fold their tents like the Arabs And as silently steal away.

Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |

The Childrens Hour

Between the dark and the daylight, 
When the night is beginning to lower, 
Comes a pause in the day's occupations, 
That is known as the Children's Hour.
I hear in the chamber above me The patter of little feet, The sound of a door that is opened, And voices soft and sweet.
From my study I see in the lamplight, Descending the broad hall stair, Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra, And Edith with golden hair.
A whisper, and then a silence: Yet I know by their merry eyes They are plotting and planning together To take me by surprise.
A sudden rush from the stairway, A sudden raid from the hall! By three doors left unguarded They enter my castle wall! They climb up into my turret O'er the arms and back of my chair; If I try to escape, they surround me; They seem to be everywhere.
They almost devour me with kisses, Their arms about me entwine, Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine! Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti, Because you have scaled the wall, Such an old mustache as I am Is not a match for you all! I have you fast in my fortress, And will not let you depart, But put you down into the dungeon In the round-tower of my heart.
And there will I keep you forever, Yes, forever and a day, Till the walls shall crumble to ruin, And moulder in dust away!

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Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |

A Psalm of Life

What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist

TELL me not in mournful numbers  
Life is but an empty dream!¡ª 
For the soul is dead that slumbers  
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest! 5 And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art to dust returnest Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment and not sorrow Is our destined end or way; 10 But to act that each to-morrow Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long and Time is fleeting And our hearts though stout and brave Still like muffled drums are beating 15 Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle In the bivouac of Life Be not like dumb driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife! 20 Trust no Future howe'er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act ¡ªact in the living Present! Heart within and God o'erhead! Lives of great men all remind us 25 We can make our lives sublime And departing leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time; Footprints that perhaps another Sailing o'er life's solemn main 30 A forlorn and shipwrecked brother Seeing shall take heart again.
Let us then be up and doing With a heart for any fate; Still achieving still pursuing 35 Learn to labor and to wait.

Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |


 Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain,
With banners, by great gales incessant fanned,
Brighter than brightest silks of Samarcand,
And stately oxen harnessed to thy wain!
Thou standest, like imperial Charlemagne,
Upon thy bridge of gold; thy royal hand
Outstretched with benedictions o'er the land,
Blessing the farms through all thy vast domain!
Thy shield is the red harvest moon, suspended
So long beneath the heaven's o'er-hanging eaves;
Thy steps are by the farmer's prayers attended;
Like flames upon an altar shine the sheaves;
And, following thee, in thy ovation splendid,
Thine almoner, the wind, scatters the golden leaves!

Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |

Footsteps of Angels

WHEN the hours of Day are numbered  
And the voices of the Night 
Wake the better soul that slumbered  
To a holy calm delight; 

Ere the evening lamps are lighted 5 
And like phantoms grim and tall  
Shadows from the fitful firelight 
Dance upon the parlor wall; 

Then the forms of the departed 
Enter at the open door; 10 
The beloved the true-hearted  
Come to visit me once more; 

He the young and strong who cherished 
Noble longings for the strife  
By the roadside fell and perished 15 
Weary with the march of life! 

They the holy ones and weakly  
Who the cross of suffering bore  
Folded their pale hands so meekly  
Spake with us on earth no more! 20 

And with them the Being Beauteous  
Who unto my youth was given  
More than all things else to love me  
And is now a saint in heaven.
With a slow and noiseless footstep 25 Comes that messenger divine Takes the vacant chair beside me Lays her gentle hand in mine.
And she sits and gazes at me With those deep and tender eyes 30 Like the stars so still and saint-like Looking downward from the skies.
Uttered not yet comprehended Is the spirit's voiceless prayer Soft rebukes in blessings ended 35 Breathing from her lips of air.
Oh though oft depressed and lonely All my fears are laid aside If I but remember only Such as these have lived and died! 40

Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |

The Fire of Drift-Wood

We sat within the farm-house old,
  Whose windows, looking o'er the bay,
Gave to the sea-breeze damp and cold,
  An easy entrance, night and day.
Not far away we saw the port, The strange, old-fashioned, silent town, The lighthouse, the dismantled fort, The wooden houses, quaint and brown.
We sat and talked until the night, Descending, filled the little room; Our faces faded from the sight, Our voices only broke the gloom.
We spake of many a vanished scene, Of what we once had thought and said, Of what had been, and might have been, And who was changed, and who was dead; And all that fills the hearts of friends, When first they feel, with secret pain, Their lives thenceforth have separate ends, And never can be one again; The first slight swerving of the heart, That words are powerless to express, And leave it still unsaid in part, Or say it in too great excess.
The very tones in which we spake Had something strange, I could but mark; The leaves of memory seemed to make A mournful rustling in the dark.
Oft died the words upon our lips, As suddenly, from out the fire Built of the wreck of stranded ships, The flames would leap and then expire.
And, as their splendor flashed and failed, We thought of wrecks upon the main, Of ships dismasted, that were hailed And sent no answer back again.
The windows, rattling in their frames, The ocean, roaring up the beach, The gusty blast, the bickering flames, All mingled vaguely in our speech; Until they made themselves a part Of fancies floating through the brain, The long-lost ventures of the heart, That send no answers back again.
O flames that glowed! O hearts that yearned! They were indeed too much akin, The drift-wood fire without that burned, The thoughts that burned and glowed within.

Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |


 Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain,
With banners, by great gales incessant fanned,
Brighter than brightest silks of Samarcand,
And stately oxen harnessed to thy wain!
Thou standest, like imperial Charlemagne,
Upon thy bridge of gold; thy royal hand
Outstretched with benedictions o'er the land,
Blessing the farms through all thy vast domain!
Thy shield is the red harvest moon, suspended
So long beneath the heaven's o'er-hanging eaves;
Thy steps are by the farmer's prayers attended;
Like flames upon an altar shine the sheaves;
And, following thee, in thy ovation splendid,
Thine almoner, the wind, scatters the golden leaves!

Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |

Christmas Bells

 "I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: 
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |


 Spake full well, in language quaint and olden,
One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine,
When he called the flowers, so blue and golden,
Stars, that in earth's firmament do shine.
Stars they are, wherein we read our history, As astrologers and seers of eld; Yet not wrapped about with awful mystery, Like the burning stars, which they beheld.
Wondrous truths, and manifold as wondrous, God hath written in those stars above; But not less in the bright flowerets under us Stands the revelation of his love.
Bright and glorious is that revelation, Written all over this great world of ours; Making evident our own creation, In these stars of earth, these golden flowers.
And the Poet, faithful and far-seeing, Sees, alike in stars and flowers, a part Of the self-same, universal being, Which is throbbing in his brain and heart.
Gorgeous flowerets in the sunlight shining, Blossoms flaunting in the eye of day, Tremulous leaves, with soft and silver lining, Buds that open only to decay; Brilliant hopes, all woven in gorgeous tissues, Flaunting gayly in the golden light; Large desires, with most uncertain issues, Tender wishes, blossoming at night! These in flowers and men are more than seeming; Workings are they of the self-same powers, Which the Poet, in no idle dreaming, Seeth in himself and in the flowers.
Everywhere about us are they glowing, Some like stars, to tell us Spring is born; Others, their blue eyes with tears o'er-flowing, Stand like Ruth amid the golden corn; Not alone in Spring's armorial bearing, And in Summer's green-emblazoned field, But in arms of brave old Autumn's wearing, In the centre of his brazen shield; Not alone in meadows and green alleys, On the mountain-top, and by the brink Of sequestered pools in woodland valleys, Where the slaves of nature stoop to drink; Not alone in her vast dome of glory, Not on graves of bird and beast alone, But in old cathedrals, high and hoary, On the tombs of heroes, carved in stone; In the cottage of the rudest peasant, In ancestral homes, whose crumbling towers, Speaking of the Past unto the Present, Tell us of the ancient Games of Flowers; In all places, then, and in all seasons, Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings, Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons, How akin they are to human things.
And with childlike, credulous affection We behold their tender buds expand; Emblems of our own great resurrection, Emblems of the bright and better land.

Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |


 This is the place.
Stand still, my steed, Let me review the scene, And summon from the shadowy Past The forms that once have been.
The Past and Present here unite Beneath Time's flowing tide, Like footprints hidden by a brook, But seen on either side.
Here runs the highway to the town; There the green lane descends, Through which I walked to church with thee, O gentlest of my friends! The shadow of the linden-trees Lay moving on the grass; Between them and the moving boughs, A shadow, thou didst pass.
Thy dress was like the lilies, And thy heart as pure as they: One of God's holy messengers Did walk with me that day.
I saw the branches of the trees Bend down thy touch to meet, The clover-blossoms in the grass Rise up to kiss thy feet, "Sleep, sleep to-day, tormenting cares, Of earth and folly born!" Solemnly sang the village choir On that sweet Sabbath morn.
Through the closed blinds the golden sun Poured in a dusty beam, Like the celestial ladder seen By Jacob in his dream.
And ever and anon, the wind, Sweet-scented with the hay, Turned o'er the hymn-book's fluttering leaves That on the window lay.
Long was the good man's sermon, Yet it seemed not so to me; For he spake of Ruth the beautiful, And still I thought of thee.
Long was the prayer he uttered, Yet it seemed not so to me; For in my heart I prayed with him, And still I thought of thee.
But now, alas! the place seems changed; Thou art no longer here: Part of the sunshine of the scene With thee did disappear.
Though thoughts, deep-rooted in my heart, Like pine-trees dark and high, Subdue the light of noon, and breathe A low and ceaseless sigh; This memory brightens o'er the past, As when the sun, concealed Behind some cloud that near us hangs Shines on a distant field.

Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |


THERE is no flock however watched and tended  
But one dead lamb is there! 
There is no fireside howsoe'er defended  
But has one vacant chair! 

The air is full of farewells to the dying 5 
And mournings for the dead; 
The heart of Rachel for her children crying  
Will not be comforted! 

Let us be patient! These severe afflictions 
Not from the ground arise 10 
But oftentimes celestial benedictions 
Assume this dark disguise.
We see but dimly through the mists and vapors; Amid these earthly damps What seem to us but sad funereal tapers 15 May be heaven's distant lamps.
There is no Death! What seems so is transition; This life of mortal breath Is but a suburb of the life elysian Whose portal we call Death.
20 She is not dead ¡ªthe child of our affection ¡ª But gone unto that school Where she no longer needs our poor protection And Christ himself doth rule.
In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion 25 By guardian angels led Safe from temptation safe from sin's pollution She lives whom we call dead Day after day we think what she is doing In those bright realms of air; 30 Year after year her tender steps pursuing Behold her grown more fair.
Thus do we walk with her and keep unbroken The bond which nature gives Thinking that our remembrance though unspoken 35 May reach her where she lives.
Not as a child shall we again behold her; For when with raptures wild In our embraces we again enfold her She will not be a child; 40 But a fair maiden in her Father's mansion Clothed with celestial grace; And beautiful with all the soul's expansion Shall we behold her face.
And though at times impetuous with emotion 45 And anguish long suppressed The swelling heart heaves moaning like the ocean That cannot be at rest ¡ª We will be patient and assuage the feeling We may not wholly stay; 50 By silence sanctifying not concealing The grief that must have way.

Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |


 How beautiful is the rain!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain!

How it clatters along the roofs,
Like the tramp of hoofs
How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the overflowing spout!

Across the window-pane
It pours and pours;
And swift and wide,
With a muddy tide,
Like a river down the gutter roars
The rain, the welcome rain!

The sick man from his chamber looks
At the twisted brooks;
He can feel the cool
Breath of each little pool;
His fevered brain
Grows calm again,
And he breathes a blessing on the rain.
From the neighboring school Come the boys, With more than their wonted noise And commotion; And down the wet streets Sail their mimic fleets, Till the treacherous pool Ingulfs them in its whirling And turbulent ocean.
In the country, on every side, Where far and wide, Like a leopard's tawny and spotted hide, Stretches the plain, To the dry grass and the drier grain How welcome is the rain! In the furrowed land The toilsome and patient oxen stand; Lifting the yoke encumbered head, With their dilated nostrils spread, They silently inhale The clover-scented gale, And the vapors that arise From the well-watered and smoking soil.
For this rest in the furrow after toil Their large and lustrous eyes Seem to thank the Lord, More than man's spoken word.
Near at hand, From under the sheltering trees, The farmer sees His pastures, and his fields of grain, As they bend their tops To the numberless beating drops Of the incessant rain.
He counts it as no sin That he sees therein Only his own thrift and gain.
These, and far more than these, The Poet sees! He can behold Aquarius old Walking the fenceless fields of air; And from each ample fold Of the clouds about him rolled Scattering everywhere The showery rain, As the farmer scatters his grain.
He can behold Things manifold That have not yet been wholly told,-- Have not been wholly sung nor said.
For his thought, that never stops, Follows the water-drops Down to the graves of the dead, Down through chasms and gulfs profound, To the dreary fountain-head Of lakes and rivers under ground; And sees them, when the rain is done, On the bridge of colors seven Climbing up once more to heaven, Opposite the setting sun.
Thus the Seer, With vision clear, Sees forms appear and disappear, In the perpetual round of strange, Mysterious change From birth to death, from death to birth, From earth to heaven, from heaven to earth; Till glimpses more sublime Of things, unseen before, Unto his wondering eyes reveal The Universe, as an immeasurable wheel Turning forevermore In the rapid and rushing river of Time.

Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |

The Village Blacksmith

UNDER a spreading chestnut tree 
The village smithy stands; 
The smith, a mighty man is he, 
With large and sinewy hands; 
And the muscles of his brawny arms 5 
Are strong as iron bands.
His hair is crisp, and black, and long, His face is like the tan; His brow is wet with honest sweat, He earns whate'er he can, 10 And looks the whole world in the face, For he owes not any man.
Week in, week out, from morn till night, You can hear his bellows blow; You can hear him swing his heavy sledge 15 With measured beat and slow, Like a sexton ringing the village bell, When the evening sun is low.
And children coming home from school Look in at the open door; 20 They love to see the flaming forge, And hear the bellows roar, And watch the burning sparks that fly Like chaff from a threshing-floor.
He goes on Sunday to the church, 25 And sits among his boys; He hears the parson pray and preach, He hears his daughter's voice, Singing in the village choir, And it makes his heart rejoice.
30 It sounds to him like her mother's voice, Singing in Paradise! He needs must think of her once more, How in the grave she lies; And with his hard, rough hand he wipes 35 A tear out of his eyes.
Toiling,¡ªrejoicing,¡ªsorrowing, Onward through life he goes; Each morning sees some task begin, Each evening sees it close; 40 Something attempted, something done, Has earned a night's repose.
Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend, For the lesson thou hast taught! Thus at the flaming forge of life 45 Our fortunes must be wrought; Thus on its sounding anvil shaped Each burning deed and thought!

Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |


 From the outskirts of the town,
Where of old the mile-stone stood,
Now a stranger, looking down
I behold the shadowy crown
Of the dark and haunted wood.
Is it changed, or am I changed? Ah! the oaks are fresh and green, But the friends with whom I ranged Through their thickets are estranged By the years that intervene.
Bright as ever flows the sea, Bright as ever shines the sun, But alas! they seem to me Not the sun that used to be, Not the tides that used to run.