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Best Famous Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Poems

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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.


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

Song of the Silent Land

(Lied: Ins Stille Land) 
BY JOHANN GAUDENZ VON SALIS-SEEWIS


INTO the Silent Land! 
Ah! who shall lead us thither? 
Clouds in the evening sky more darkly gather  
And shattered wrecks lie thicker on the strand.
Who leads us with a gentle hand 5 Thither oh thither Into the Silent Land? Into the Silent Land! To you ye boundless regions Of all perfection! Tender morning-visions 10 Of beauteous souls! The Future's pledge and band! Who in Life's battle firm doth stand Shall bear Hope's tender blossoms Into the Silent Land! O Land! O Land! 15 For all the broken-hearted The mildest herald by our fate allotted Beckons and with inverted torch doth stand To lead us with a gentle hand To the land of the great Departed 20 Into the Silent Land!


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

Aftermath

 When the summer fields are mown, 
When the birds are fledged and flown, 
And the dry leaves strew the path; 
With the falling of the snow, 
With the cawing of the crow, 
Once again the fields we mow 
And gather in the aftermath.
Not the sweet, new grass with flowers Is this harvesting of ours; Not the upland clover bloom; But the rowen mixed with weeds, Tangled tufts from marsh and meads, Where the poppy drops its seeds In the silence and the gloom.


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

Wapentake

 To Alfred Tennyson 

Poet! I come to touch thy lance with mine;
Not as a knight, who on the listed field
Of tourney touched his adversary's shield
In token of defiance, but in sign
Of homage to the mastery, which is thine,
In English song; nor will I keep concealed,
And voiceless as a rivulet frost-congealed,
My admiration for thy verse divine.
Not of the howling dervishes of song, Who craze the brain with their delirious dance, Art thou, O sweet historian of the heart! Therefore to thee the laurel-leaves belong, To thee our love and our allegiance, For thy allegiance to the poet's art.


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

AUTUMN

 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!


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

THE ARROW AND THE SONG

 I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.
I breathed a song into the air, It fell to earth, I knew not where; For who has sight so keen and strong, That it can follow the flight of song? Long, long afterward, in an oak I found the arrow, still unbroke; And the song, from beginning to end, I found again in the heart of a friend.


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

Keats

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


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

Memories

 Oft I remember those I have known
In other days, to whom my heart was lead
As by a magnet, and who are not dead,
But absent, and their memories overgrown
With other thoughts and troubles of my own,
As graves with grasses are, and at their head
The stone with moss and lichens so o'er spread,
Nothing is legible but the name alone.
And is it so with them? After long years.
Do they remember me in the same way, And is the memory pleasant as to me? I fear to ask; yet wherefore are my fears? Pleasures, like flowers, may wither and decay, And yet the root perennial may be.


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

Daylight and Moonlight

 In broad daylight, and at noon,
Yesterday I saw the moon
Sailing high, but faint and white,
As a schoolboy's paper kite.
In broad daylight, yesterday, I read a poet's mystic lay; And it seemed to me at most As a phantom, or a ghost.
But at length the feverish day Like a passion died away, And the night, serene and still, Fell on village, vale, and hill.
Then the moon, in all her pride, Like a spirit glorified, Filled and overflowed the night With revelations of her light.
And the Poet's song again Passed like music through my brain; Night interpreted to me All its grace and mystery.


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

The Rainy Day

 The day is cold, and dark, and dreary
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.
My life is cold, and dark, and dreary; It rains, and the wind is never weary; My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past, But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast, And the days are dark and dreary.
Be still, sad heart! and cease repining; Behind the clouds is the sun still shining; Thy fate is the common fate of all, Into each life some rain must fall, Some days must be dark and dreary.


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

Gods-Acre

 I like that ancient Saxon phrase, which calls
The burial-ground God's-Acre! It is just;
It consecrates each grave within its walls,
And breathes a benison o'er the sleeping dust.
God's-Acre! Yes, that blessed name imparts Comfort to those, who in the grave have sown The seed that they had garnered in their hearts, Their bread of life, alas! no more their own.
Into its furrows shall we all be cast, In the sure faith, that we shall rise again At the great harvest, when the archangel's blast Shall winnow, like a fan, the chaff and grain.
Then shall the good stand in immortal bloom, In the fair gardens of that second birth; And each bright blossom mingle its perfume With that of flowers, which never bloomed on earth.
With thy rude ploughahare, Death, turn up the sod, And spread the furrow for the seed we sow; This is the field and Acre of our God, This is the place where human harvests grow!


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

It is not Always May

 No hay pajaros en los nidos de antano.
Spanish Proverb The sun is bright,--the air is clear, The darting swallows soar and sing.
And from the stately elms I hear The bluebird prophesying Spring.
So blue you winding river flows, It seems an outlet from the sky, Where waiting till the west-wind blows, The freighted clouds at anchor lie.
All things are new;--the buds, the leaves, That gild the elm-tree's nodding crest, And even the nest beneath the eaves;-- There are no birds in last year's nest! All things rejoice in youth and love, The fulness of their first delight! And learn from the soft heavens above The melting tenderness of night.
Maiden, that read'st this simple rhyme, Enjoy thy youth, it will not stay; Enjoy the fragrance of thy prime, For oh, it is not always May! Enjoy the Spring of Love and Youth, To some good angel leave the rest; For Time will teach thee soon the truth, There are no birds in last year's nest!


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

Hymn to the Night

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

I felt her presence, by its spell of might,
Stoop o'er me from above;
The calm, majestic presence of the Night,
As of the one I love.
I heard the sounds of sorrow and delight, The manifold, soft chimes, That fill the haunted chambers of the Night Like some old poet's rhymes.
From the cool cisterns of the midnight air My spirit drank repose; The fountain of perpetual peace flows there,-- From those deep cisterns flows.
O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear What man has borne before! Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Care, And they complain no more.
Peace! Peace! Orestes-like I breathe this prayer! Descend with broad-winged flight, The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the most fair, The best-beloved Night!


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

THE SLAVE SINGING AT MIDNIGHT

 Loud he sang the psalm of David!
He, a Negro and enslaved,
Sang of Israel's victory,
Sang of Zion, bright and free.
In that hour, when night is calmest, Sang he from the Hebrew Psalmist, In a voice so sweet and clear That I could not choose but hear, Songs of triumph, and ascriptions, Such as reached the swart Egyptians, When upon the Red Sea coast Perished Pharaoh and his host.
And the voice of his devotion Filled my soul with strange emotion; For its tones by turns were glad, Sweetly solemn, wildly sad.
Paul and Silas, in their prison, Sang of Christ, the Lord arisen, And an earthquake's arm of might Broke their dungeon-gates at night.
But, alas! what holy angel Brings the Slave this glad evangel? And what earthquake's arm of might Breaks his dungeon-gates at night?


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

THE EVENING STAR

 Lo! in the painted oriel of the West,
Whose panes the sunken sun incarnadines,
Like a fair lady at her casement, shines
The evening star, the star of love and rest!
And then anon she doth herself divest
Of all her radiant garments, and reclines
Behind the sombre screen of yonder pines,
With slumber and soft dreams of love oppressed.
O my beloved, my sweet Hesperus! My morning and my evening star of love! My best and gentlest lady! even thus, As that fair planet in the sky above, Dost thou retire unto thy rest at night, And from thy darkened window fades the light.


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

AFTERNOON IN FEBRUARY

 The day is ending,
The night is descending;
The marsh is frozen,
The river dead.
Through clouds like ashes The red sun flashes On village windows That glimmer red.
The snow recommences; The buried fences Mark no longer The road o'er the plain; While through the meadows, Like fearful shadows, Slowly passes A funeral train.
The bell is pealing, And every feeling Within me responds To the dismal knell; Shadows are trailing, My heart is bewailing And tolling within Like a funeral bell.


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

Blind Bartimeus

 Blind Bartimeus at the gates
Of Jericho in darkness waits;
He hears the crowd;--he hears a breath
Say, "It is Christ of Nazareth!"
And calls, in tones of agony,


The thronging multitudes increase;
Blind Bartimeus, hold thy peace!
But still, above the noisy crowd,
The beggar's cry is shrill and loud;
Until they say, "He calleth thee!"


Then saith the Christ, as silent stands
The crowd, "What wilt thou at my hands?"
And he replies, "O give me light!
Rabbi, restore the blind man's sight.
And Jesus answers, '' ! Ye that have eyes, yet cannot see, In darkness and in misery, Recall those mighty Voices Three, ! ! !


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

CURFEW

 I.
Solemnly, mournfully, Dealing its dole, The Curfew Bell Is beginning to toll.
Cover the embers, And put out the light; Toil comes with the morning, And rest with the night.
Dark grow the windows, And quenched is the fire; Sound fades into silence,-- All footsteps retire.
No voice in the chambers, No sound in the hall! Sleep and oblivion Reign over all! II.
The book is completed, And closed, like the day; And the hand that has written it Lays it away.
Dim grow its fancies; Forgotten they lie; Like coals in the ashes, They darken and die.
Song sinks into silence, The story is told, The windows are darkened, The hearth-stone is cold.
Darker and darker The black shadows fall; Sleep and oblivion Reign over all.


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

THE WARNING

 Beware! The Israelite of old, who tore
The lion in his path,--when, poor and blind,
He saw the blessed light of heaven no more,
Shorn of his noble strength and forced to grind
In prison, and at last led forth to be
A pander to Philistine revelry,--

Upon the pillars of the temple laid
His desperate hands, and in its overthrow
Destroyed himself, and with him those who made
A cruel mockery of his sightless woe;
The poor, blind Slave, the scoff and jest of all,
Expired, and thousands perished in the fall!

There is a poor, blind Samson in this land,
Shorn of his strength and bound in bonds of steel,
Who may, in some grim revel, raise his hand,
And shake the pillars of this Commonweal,
Till the vast Temple of our liberties.
A shapeless mass of wreck and rubbish lies.


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

THE WITNESSES

 In Ocean's wide domains,
Half buried in the sands,
Lie skeletons in chains,
With shackled feet and hands.
Beyond the fall of dews, Deeper than plummet lies, Float ships, with all their crews, No more to sink nor rise.
There the black Slave-ship swims, Freighted with human forms, Whose fettered, fleshless limbs Are not the sport of storms.
These are the bones of Slaves; They gleam from the abyss; They cry, from yawning waves, "We are the Witnesses!" Within Earth's wide domains Are markets for men's lives; Their necks are galled with chains, Their wrists are cramped with gyves.
Dead bodies, that the kite In deserts makes its prey; Murders, that with affright Scare school-boys from their play! All evil thoughts and deeds; Anger, and lust, and pride; The foulest, rankest weeds, That choke Life's groaning tide! These are the woes of Slaves; They glare from the abyss; They cry, from unknown graves, "We are the Witnesses!