The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Part 1 out of 31
This etext was prepared by Don Lainson
THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS OF HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW
(From the PUBLISHER'S NOTE: "The present Household Edition of Mr.
Longfellow's Poetical Writings . . . contains all his original
verse that he wished to preserve, and all his translations except
the Divina Commedia. The poems are printed as nearly as possible
in chronological order . . . Boston, Autumn, 1902." Houghton
VOICES OF THE NIGHT.
Hymn to the Night
A Psalm of Life
The Reaper and the Flowers
The Light of Stars
Footsteps of Angels
The Beleaguered City
Midnight Mass for the Dying Year
An April Day
Woods in Winter
Hymn of the Moravian Nuns of Bethlehem
Sunrise on the Hills
The Spirit of Poetry
Burial of the Minnisink
BALLADS AND OTHER POEMS.
The Skeleton in Armor
The Wreck of the Hesperus
The Village Blacksmith
It is not Always May
The Rainy Day
To the River Charles
The Goblet of Life
POEMS ON SLAVERY.
To William E. Channing
The Slave's Dream
The Good Part, that shall not be taken away
The Slave in the Dismal Swamp
The Slave singing at Midnight
The Quadroon Girl
THE SPANISH STUDENT.
THE BELFRY OF BRUGES AND OTHER POEMS.
The Belfry of Bruges
A Gleam of Sunshine
The Arsenal at Springfield
The Norman Baron
Rain In Summer
To a Child
The Occultation of Orion
To the Driving Cloud
The Day Is done
Afternoon in February
To an Old Danish Song-Book
Walter von der Vogelweid
The Old Clock on the Stairs
The Arrow and the Song
The Evening Star
EVANGELINE: A TALE OF ACADIE.
THE SEASIDE AND THE FIRESIDE.
BY THE SEASIDE.
The Building of the Ship
The Secret of the Sea
Sir Humphrey Gilbert
The Fire of Drift-Wood
BY THE FIRESIDE.
Sand of the Desert In an Hour-Glass
The Open Window
King Witlaf's Drinking-Horn
Pegasus in Pound
Sonnet on Mrs. Kemble's Reading from Shakespeare
Hymn for my Brother's Ordination
THE SONG OF HIAWATHA.
I. The Peace-Pipe
II. The Four Winds
III. Hiawatha's Childhood
IV. Hiawatha and Madjekeewis
V. Hiawatha's Fasting
VI. Hiawatha's Friends
VII. Hiawatha's Sailing
VIII. Hiawatha's Fishing
IX. Hiawatha and the Pearl-Feather
X. Hiawatha's Wooing
XI. Hiawatha's Wedding-Feast
XII. The Son of the Evening Star
XIII. Blessing the Cornfields
XV. Hiawatha's Lamentation
XVII. The Hunting of Pau-Puk-Keewis
XVIII. The Death of Kwasind
XIX. The Ghosts
XX. The Famine
XXI. The White Man's Foot
XXII. Hiawatha's Departure
THE COURTSHIP OF MILES STANDISH.
I. Miles Standish
II. Love and Friendship
III. The Lover's Errand
IV. John Alden
V. The Sailing of the May flower
VII. The March of Miles Standish
VIII. The Spinning-Wheel
IX. The Wedding-Day
BIRDS OF PASSAGE.
FLIGHT THE FIRST.
Birds of Passage
Prometheus, or the Poet's Forethought
Epimetheus, or the Poet's Afterthought
The Ladder of St. Augustine
The Phantom Ship
The Warden of the Cinque Ports
In the Churchyard at Cambridge
The Emperor's Bird's-Nest
The Two Angels
Daylight and Moonlight
The Jewish Cemetery at Newport
My Lost Youth
The Golden Mile-Stone
The Discoverer of the North Cape
The Fiftieth Birthday of Agassiz
FLIGHT THE SECOND.
The Children's Hour
A Day of Sunshine
Something left Undone
TALES OF A WAYSIDE INN.
The Wayside Inn
The Landlord's Tale
Paul Revere's Ride
The Student's Tale
The Falcon of Ser Federigo
The Spanish Jew's Tale
The Legend of Rabbi Ben Levi
The Sicilian's Tale
King Robert of Sicily
The Musician's Tale
The Saga of King Olaf
I. The Challenge of Thor
II. King Olaf's Return
III. Thorn of Rimol
IV. Queen Sigrid the Haughty
V. The Skerry of Shrieks
VI. The Wraith of Odin
IX. Thangbrand the Priest
X. Raud the Strong
XI. Bishop Sigurd at Salten Fiord
XII. King Olaf's Christmas
XIII. The Building of the Long Serpent
XIV. The Crew of the Long Serpent
XV. A Little Bird in the Air
XVI. Queen Thyri and the Angelica Stalks
XVII. King Svend of the Forked Beard
XVIII. King Olaf and Earl Sigvald
XIX. King Olaf's War-Horns
XX. Einar Tamberskelver
XXI. King Olaf's Death-drink
XXII. The Nun of Nidaros
The Theologian's Tale.
The Poet's Tale
The Birds of Killingworth
The Sicilian's Tale
The Bell of Atri
The Spanish Jew's Tale
The Student's Tale
The Cobbler of Hagenau
The Musician's Tale
The Ballad of Carmilhan
The Poet's Tale
The Theologian's Tale
The Legend Beautiful
The Student's Second Tale
The Baron of St. Castine
The Spanish Jew's Tale
The Poet's Tale
The Student's Tale
Emma and Eginhard
The Theologian's Tale
The Sicilian's Tale
The Monk of Casa-Maggiore
The Spanish Jew's Second Tale
The Musician's Tale
The Mother's Ghost
The Landlord's Tale
The Rhyme of Sir Christopher
The Bridge of Cloud
The Wind over the Chimney
The Bells of Lynn
Killed at the Ford
BIRDS OF PASSAGE
FLIGHT THE THIRD.
The Haunted Chamber
The Brook and the Wave
THE MASQUE OF PANDORA.
I. The Workshop of Hephaestus
III. Tower of Prometheus on Mount Caucasus
IV. The Air
V. The House of Epimetheus
VI. In the Garden
VII. The House of Epimetheus
VIII. In the Garden
THE HANGING OF THE CRANE
A BOOK OF SONNETS.
Three Friends of Mine
The Sound of the Sea
A Summer Day by the Sea
A Nameless Grave
The Old Bridge at Florence
Il Ponte Vecchio di Firenze
In the Churchyard at Tarrytown
The Descent of the Muses
The Harvest Moon
To the River Rhone
The Three Silences of Molinos
The Two Rivers
St. John's, Cambridge
The Four Princesses at Wilna
The Broken Oar
The Cross of Snow
BIRDS OF PASSAGE
FLIGHT THE FOURTH.
Travels by the Fireside
The Sermon of St. Francis
BIRDS OF PASSAGE.
FLIGHT THE FIFTH.
The Herons of Elmwood
A Dutch Picture
Castles in Spain
The Revenge of Rain-in-the-Face
To the River Yvette
The Emperor's Glove
A Ballad or the French Fleet
The Leap of Roushan Beg
Haroun Al Raschid.
A Wraith in the Mist
The Three Kings
Song: "Stay, Stay at Home, my Heart, and Rest."
The White Czar
The Chamber over the Gate
From my Arm-Chair
The Iron Pen
Helen of Tyre
Old St. David's at Radnor
The Sifting of Peter
Maiden and Weathercock
The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls
The Burial of the Poet
The Poet and his Songs
IN THE HARBOR.
The Poet's Calendar
The Four Lakes of Madison
Victor and Vanquished
The Children's Crusade
Four by the Clock
The City and the Sea
To the Avon
Loss and Gain
Inscription on the Shanklin Fountain
The Bells of San Blas
"Neglected record of a mind neglected"
"O Faithful, indefatigable tides"
"Soft through the silent air"
"So from the bosom of darkness"
CHRISTUS: A MYSTERY.
PART I. THE DIVINE TRAGEDY.
The First Passover
I. Vox Clamantis
II. Mount Quarantania
III. The Marriage in Cana
IV. In the Cornfields
VI. The Sea of Galilee
VII. The Demoniac of Gadara
IX. The Tower of Magdala
X. The House of Simon the Pharisee
The Second Passover
I. Before the Gates of Machaerus
II. Herod's Banquet-Hall
III. Under the Wall of Machaerus
IV. Nicodemus at Night
V. Blind Bartimeus
VI. Jacob's Well
VII. The Coasts of Caesarea Philippi
VIII. The Young Ruler
IX. At Bethany
X. Born Blind
XI. Simon Magus and Helen of Tyre
The Third Passover
I. The Entry into Jerusalem
II. Solomon's Porch
III. Lord, is it I?
IV. The Garden of Gethsemane
V. The Palace of Caiaphas
VI. Pontius Pilate
VII. Barabbas in Prison
VIII. Ecce Homo
X. The Three Crosses
XI. The Two Maries
XII. The Sea of Galilee
Epilogue. Symbolum Apostolorum
First Interlude. The Abbot Joachim
PART II. THE GOLDEN LEGEND.
Prologue: The Spire of Strasburg Cathedral
I. The Castle of Vautsberg on the Rhine
Courtyard of the Castle
II. A Farm in the Odenwald
A Room in the Farmhouse
The Chamber of Gottlieb and Ursula
A Village Church
A Room in the Farmhouse
In the Garden
III. A Street in Strasburg
Square in Front of the Cathedral
In the Cathedral
The Nativity: A Miracle-Play
II. Mary at the Well
III. The Angels of the Seven Planets
IV. The Wise Men of the East
V. The Flight into Egypt
VI. The Slaughter of the Innocents
VII. Jesus at Play with his Schoolmates
VIII. The Village School
IX. Crowned with Flowers
IV. The Road to Hirschau
The Convent of Hirschau in the Black Forest
The Neighboring Nunnery
V. A Covered Bridge at Lucerne
The Devil's Bridge
The St. Gothard Pass
At the Foot of the Alps
The Inn at Genoa
VI. The School of Salerno
The Farm-house in the Odenwald
The Castle of Vautsberg on the Rhine
Epilogue. The Two Recording Angels Ascending
Second Interlude. Martin Luther
PART III. THE NEW ENGLAND TRAGEDIES.
Giles Corey of the Salem Farms
Finale. St. John
Act I. The Citadel of Antiochus at Jerusalem
Act II. The Dungeons in the Citadel
Act III. The Battle-field of Beth-Horon
Act IV. The Outer Courts of the Temple at Jerusalem
Act V. The Mountains of Ecbatana
I. Prologue at Ischia
Monologue : The Last Judgment
II. San Silvestro
III. Cardinal Ippolito
IV. Borgo delle Vergine at Naples
V. Vittoria Colonna
III. Michael Angelo and Benvenuto Cellini
IV. Fra Sebastiano del Piombo
V. Palazzo Belvedere
VI. Palazzo Cesarini
II. Vigna di Papa Giulio
III. Bindo Altoviti
IV. In the Coliseum
V. Macello de' Corvi
VI. Michael Angelo's Studio
VII. The Oaks of Monte Luca
VIII. The Dead Christ
From the Spanish
Coplas de Manrique
I. The Good Shepherd
III. The Native Land
IV. The Image of God
V. The Brook
Ancient Spanish Ballads.
I. Rio Verde, Rio Verde
II. Don Nuno, Count of Lara
III. The peasant leaves his plough afield
Vida de San Millan
San Miguel, the Convent
Song: "She is a maid of artless grace"
Santa Teresa's Book-Mark
From the Cancioneros
I. Eyes so tristful, eyes so tristful
II. Some day, some day
III. Come, O death, so silent flying
IV. Glove of black in white hand bare
From the Swedish and Danish.
Passages from Frithiof's Saga
I. Frithiof's Homestead
II. A Sledge-Ride on the Ice
III. Frithiof's Temptation
IV. Frithiof's Farewell
The Children of the Lord's Supper
The Elected Knight
From the German.
The Happiest Land
The Bird and the Ship
Song of the Bell
The Castle by the Sea
The Black Knight
Song of the Silent Land
The Luck of Edenhall
The Two Locks of Hair
The Hemlock Tree
Annie of Tharaw
The Statue over the Cathedral Door
The Legend of the Crossbill
The Sea hath its Pearls
Blessed are the Dead
From the Anglo-Saxon.
Beowulf's Expedition to Heort
The Soul's Complaint against the Body
From the French
Song: Hark! Hark!
Song: "And whither goest thou, gentle sigh"
The Return of Spring
The Child Asleep
Death of Archbishop Turpin
The Blind Girl of Castel-Cuille
A Christmas Carol
To Cardinal Richelieu
The Angel and the Child
On the Terrace of the Aigalades
To my Brooklet
Will ever the dear days come back again?
At La Chaudeau
A Quiet Life
The Wine of Jurancon
From the Italian.
The Celestial Pilot
The Terrestrial Paradise
Seven Sonnets and a Canzone
I. The Artist
III. Youth and Age
IV. Old Age
V. To Vittoria Colonna
VI. To Vittoria Colonna
The Nature of Love
From the Portuguese.
Song: If thou art sleeping, maiden
From Eastern sources.
The Siege of Kazan
The Boy and the Brook
To the Stork
From the Latin.
Virgils First Eclogue
Ovid in Exile
VOICES OF THE NIGHT
Pleasant it was, when woods were green,
And winds were soft and low,
To lie amid some sylvan scene.
Where, the long drooping boughs between,
Shadows dark and sunlight sheen
Alternate come and go;
Or where the denser grove receives
No sunlight from above,
But the dark foliage interweaves
In one unbroken roof of leaves,
Underneath whose sloping eaves
The shadows hardly move.
Beneath some patriarchal tree
I lay upon the ground;
His hoary arms uplifted he,
And all the broad leaves over me
Clapped their little hands in glee,
With one continuous sound;--
A slumberous sound, a sound that brings
The feelings of a dream,
As of innumerable wings,
As, when a bell no longer swings,
Faint the hollow murmur rings
O'er meadow, lake, and stream.
And dreams of that which cannot die,
Bright visions, came to me,
As lapped in thought I used to lie,
And gaze into the summer sky,
Where the sailing clouds went by,
Like ships upon the sea;
Dreams that the soul of youth engage
Ere Fancy has been quelled;
Old legends of the monkish page,
Traditions of the saint and sage,
Tales that have the rime of age,
And chronicles of Eld.
And, loving still these quaint old themes,
Even in the city's throng
I feel the freshness of the streams,
That, crossed by shades and sunny gleams,
Water the green land of dreams,
The holy land of song.
Therefore, at Pentecost, which brings
The Spring, clothed like a bride,
When nestling buds unfold their wings,
And bishop's-caps have golden rings,
Musing upon many things,
I sought the woodlands wide.
The green trees whispered low and mild;
It was a sound of joy!
They were my playmates when a child,
And rocked me in their arms so wild!
Still they looked at me and smiled,
As if I were a boy;
And ever whispered, mild and low,
"Come, be a child once more!"
And waved their long arms to and fro,
And beckoned solemnly and slow;
O, I could not choose but go
Into the woodlands hoar,--
Into the blithe and breathing air,
Into the solemn wood,
Solemn and silent everywhere
Nature with folded hands seemed there
Kneeling at her evening prayer!
Like one in prayer I stood.
Before me rose an avenue
Of tall and sombrous pines;
Abroad their fan-like branches grew,
And, where the sunshine darted through,
Spread a vapor soft and blue,
In long and sloping lines.
And, falling on my weary brain,
Like a fast-falling shower,
The dreams of youth came back again,
Low lispings of the summer rain,
Dropping on the ripened grain,
As once upon the flower.
Visions of childhood! Stay, O stay!
Ye were so sweet and wild!
And distant voices seemed to say,
"It cannot be! They pass away!
Other themes demand thy lay;
Thou art no more a child!
"The land of Song within thee lies,
Watered by living springs;
The lids of Fancy's sleepless eyes
Are gates unto that Paradise,
Holy thoughts, like stars, arise,
Its clouds are angels' wings.
"Learn, that henceforth thy song shall be,
Not mountains capped with snow,
Nor forests sounding like the sea,
Nor rivers flowing ceaselessly,
Where the woodlands bend to see
The bending heavens below.
"There is a forest where the din
Of iron branches sounds!
A mighty river roars between,
And whosoever looks therein
Sees the heavens all black with sin,
Sees not its depths, nor bounds.
"Athwart the swinging branches cast,
Soft rays of sunshine pour;
Then comes the fearful wintry blast
Our hopes, like withered leaves, fail fast;
Pallid lips say, 'It is past!
We can return no more!,
"Look, then, into thine heart, and write!
Yes, into Life's deep stream!
All forms of sorrow and delight,
All solemn Voices of the Night,
That can soothe thee, or affright,--
Be these henceforth thy theme."
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!
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!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
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;
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
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!
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,--act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
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,
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,
Learn to labor and to wait.
THE REAPER AND THE FLOWERS.
There is a Reaper, whose name is Death,
And, with his sickle keen,
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath,
And the flowers that grow between.
"Shall I have naught that is fair?" saith he;
"Have naught but the bearded grain?
Though the breath of these flowers is sweet to me,
I will give them all back again."
He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes,
He kissed their drooping leaves;
It was for the Lord of Paradise
He bound them in his sheaves.
"My Lord has need of these flowerets gay,"
The Reaper said, and smiled;
"Dear tokens of the earth are they,
Where he was once a child.
"They shall all bloom in fields of light,
Transplanted by my care,
And saints, upon their garments white,
These sacred blossoms wear."
And the mother gave, in tears and pain,
The flowers she most did love;
She knew she should find them all again
In the fields of light above.
O, not in cruelty, not in wrath,
The Reaper came that day;
'T was an angel visited the green earth,
And took the flowers away.
THE LIGHT OF STARS.
The night is come, but not too soon;
And sinking silently,
All silently, the little moon
Drops down behind the sky.
There is no light in earth or heaven
But the cold light of stars;
And the first watch of night is given
To the red planet Mars.
Is it the tender star of love?
The star of love and dreams?
O no! from that blue tent above,
A hero's armor gleams.
And earnest thoughts within me rise,
When I behold afar,
Suspended in the evening skies,
The shield of that red star.
O star of strength! I see thee stand
And smile upon my pain;
Thou beckonest with thy mailed hand,
And I am strong again.
Within my breast there is no light
But the cold light of stars;
I give the first watch of the night
To the red planet Mars.
The star of the unconquered will,
He rises in my breast,
Serene, and resolute, and still,
And calm, and self-possessed.
And thou, too, whosoe'er thou art,
That readest this brief psalm,
As one by one thy hopes depart,
Be resolute and calm.
O fear not in a world like this,
And thou shalt know erelong,
Know how sublime a thing it is
To suffer and be strong.
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,
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;
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,
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!
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
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,
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,
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!
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.
THE BELEAGUERED CITY.
I have read, in some old, marvellous tale,
Some legend strange and vague,
That a midnight host of spectres pale
Beleaguered the walls of Prague.
Beside the Moldau's rushing stream,
With the wan moon overhead,
There stood, as in an awful dream,
The army of the dead.
White as a sea-fog, landward bound,
The spectral camp was seen,
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,
The river flowed between.
No other voice nor sound was there,
No drum, nor sentry's pace;
The mist-like banners clasped the air,
As clouds with clouds embrace.
But when the old cathedral bell
Proclaimed the morning prayer,
The white pavilions rose and fell
On the alarmed air.
Down the broad valley fast and far
The troubled army fled;
Up rose the glorious morning star,
The ghastly host was dead.
I have read, in the marvellous heart of man,
That strange and mystic scroll,
That an army of phantoms vast and wan
Beleaguer the human soul.
Encamped beside Life's rushing stream,
In Fancy's misty light,
Gigantic shapes and shadows gleam
Portentous through the night.
Upon its midnight battle-ground
The spectral camp is seen,
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,
Flows the River of Life between.
No other voice nor sound is there,
In the army of the grave;
No other challenge breaks the air,
But the rushing of Life's wave.
And when the solemn and deep churchbell
Entreats the soul to pray,
The midnight phantoms feel the spell,
The shadows sweep away.
Down the broad Vale of Tears afar
The spectral camp is fled;
Faith shineth as a morning star,
Our ghastly fears are dead.
MIDNIGHT MASS FOR THE DYING YEAR
Yes, the Year is growing old,
And his eye is pale and bleared!
Death, with frosty hand and cold,
Plucks the old man by the beard,
The leaves are falling, falling,
Solemnly and slow;
Caw! caw! the rooks are calling,
It is a sound of woe,
A sound of woe!
Through woods and mountain passes
The winds, like anthems, roll;
They are chanting solemn masses,
Singing, "Pray for this poor soul,
And the hooded clouds, like friars,
Tell their beads in drops of rain,
And patter their doleful prayers;
But their prayers are all in vain,
All in vain!
There he stands in the foul weather,
The foolish, fond Old Year,
Crowned with wild flowers and with heather,
Like weak, despised Lear,
A king, a king!
Then comes the summer-like day,
Bids the old man rejoice!
His joy! his last! O, the man gray
Loveth that ever-soft voice,
Gentle and low.
To the crimson woods he saith,
To the voice gentle and low
Of the soft air, like a daughter's breath,
"Pray do not mock me so!
Do not laugh at me!"
And now the sweet day is dead;
Cold in his arms it lies;
No stain from its breath is spread
Over the glassy skies,
No mist or stain!
Then, too, the Old Year dieth,
And the forests utter a moan,
Like the voice of one who crieth
In the wilderness alone,
"Vex not his ghost!"
Then comes, with an awful roar,
Gathering and sounding on,
The storm-wind from Labrador,
The wind Euroclydon,
Howl! howl! and from the forest
Sweep the red leaves away!
Would, the sins that thou abhorrest,
O Soul! could thus decay,
And be swept away!
For there shall come a mightier blast,
There shall be a darker day;
And the stars, from heaven down-cast
Like red leaves be swept away!
AN APRIL DAY
When the warm sun, that brings
Seed-time and harvest, has returned again,
'T is sweet to visit the still wood, where springs
The first flower of the plain.
I love the season well,
When forest glades are teeming with bright forms,
Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell
The coming-on of storms.
From the earth's loosened mould
The sapling draws its sustenance, and thrives;
Though stricken to the heart with winter's cold,
The drooping tree revives.
The softly-warbled song
Comes from the pleasant woods, and colored wings
Glance quick in the bright sun, that moves along
The forest openings.
When the bright sunset fills
The silver woods with light, the green slope throws
Its shadows in the hollows of the hills,
And wide the upland glows.
And when the eve is born,
In the blue lake the sky, o'er-reaching far,
Is hollowed out and the moon dips her horn,
And twinkles many a star.
Inverted in the tide
Stand the gray rocks, and trembling shadows throw,
And the fair trees look over, side by side,
And see themselves below.
Sweet April! many a thought
Is wedded unto thee, as hearts are wed;
Nor shall they fail, till, to its autumn brought,
Life's golden fruit is shed.
With what a glory comes and goes the year!
The buds of spring, those beautiful harbingers
Of sunny skies and cloudless times, enjoy
Life's newness, and earth's garniture spread out;
And when the silver habit of the clouds
Comes down upon the autumn sun, and with
A sober gladness the old year takes up
His bright inheritance of golden fruits,
A pomp and pageant fill the splendid scene.
There is a beautiful spirit breathing now
Its mellow richness on the clustered trees,
And, from a beaker full of richest dyes,
Pouring new glory on the autumn woods,
And dipping in warm light the pillared clouds.
Morn on the mountain, like a summer bird,
Lifts up her purple wing, and in the vales
The gentle wind, a sweet and passionate wooer,
Kisses the blushing leaf, and stirs up life
Within the solemn woods of ash deep-crimsoned,
And silver beech, and maple yellow-leaved,
Where Autumn, like a faint old man, sits down
By the wayside a-weary. Through the trees
The golden robin moves. The purple finch,
That on wild cherry and red cedar feeds,
A winter bird, comes with its plaintive whistle,
And pecks by the witch-hazel, whilst aloud
From cottage roofs the warbling blue-bird sings,
And merrily, with oft-repeated stroke,
Sounds from the threshing-floor the busy flail.
O what a glory doth this world put on
For him who, with a fervent heart, goes forth
Under the bright and glorious sky, and looks
On duties well performed, and days well spent!
For him the wind, ay, and the yellow leaves,
Shall have a voice, and give him eloquent teachings.
He shall so hear the solemn hymn that Death
Has lifted up for all, that he shall go
To his long resting-place without a tear.
WOODS IN WINTER.
When winter winds are piercing chill,
And through the hawthorn blows the gale,
With solemn feet I tread the hill,
That overbrows the lonely vale.
O'er the bare upland, and away
Through the long reach of desert woods,
The embracing sunbeams chastely play,
And gladden these deep solitudes.
Where, twisted round the barren oak,
The summer vine in beauty clung,
And summer winds the stillness broke,
The crystal icicle is hung.
Where, from their frozen urns, mute springs
Pour out the river's gradual tide,
Shrilly the skater's iron rings,
And voices fill the woodland side.
Alas! how changed from the fair scene,
When birds sang out their mellow lay,
And winds were soft, and woods were green,
And the song ceased not with the day!
But still wild music is abroad,
Pale, desert woods! within your crowd;
And gathering winds, in hoarse accord,
Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud.
Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear
Has grown familiar with your song;
I hear it in the opening year,
I listen, and it cheers me long.
HYMN OF THE MORAVIAN NUNS OF BETHLEHEM
AT THE CONSECRATION OF PULASKI'S BANNER.
When the dying flame of day
Through the chancel shot its ray,
Far the glimmering tapers shed
Faint light on the cowled head;
And the censer burning swung,
Where, before the altar, hung
The crimson banner, that with prayer
Had been consecrated there.
And the nuns' sweet hymn was heard the while,
Sung low, in the dim, mysterious aisle.
"Take thy banner! May it wave
Proudly o'er the good and brave;
When the battle's distant wail
Breaks the sabbath of our vale.
When the clarion's music thrills
To the hearts of these lone hills,
When the spear in conflict shakes,
And the strong lance shivering breaks.
"Take thy banner! and, beneath
The battle-cloud's encircling wreath,
Guard it, till our homes are free!
Guard it! God will prosper thee!
In the dark and trying hour,
In the breaking forth of power,
In the rush of steeds and men,
His right hand will shield thee then.
"Take thy banner! But when night
Closes round the ghastly fight,
If the vanquished warrior bow,
Spare him! By our holy vow,
By our prayers and many tears,
By the mercy that endears,
Spare him! he our love hath shared!
Spare him! as thou wouldst be spared!
"Take thy banner! and if e'er
Thou shouldst press the soldier's bier,
And the muffled drum should beat
To the tread of mournful feet,
Then this crimson flag shall be
Martial cloak and shroud for thee."
The warrior took that banner proud,
And it was his martial cloak and shroud!
SUNRISE ON THE HILLS
I stood upon the hills, when heaven's wide arch
Was glorious with the sun's returning march,
And woods were brightened, and soft gales
Went forth to kiss the sun-clad vales.
The clouds were far beneath me; bathed in light,
They gathered mid-way round the wooded height,
And, in their fading glory, shone
Like hosts in battle overthrown.
As many a pinnacle, with shifting glance.
Through the gray mist thrust up its shattered lance,
And rocking on the cliff was left
The dark pine blasted, bare, and cleft.
The veil of cloud was lifted, and below
Glowed the rich valley, and the river's flow
Was darkened by the forest's shade,
Or glistened in the white cascade;
Where upward, in the mellow blush of day,
The noisy bittern wheeled his spiral way.
I heard the distant waters dash,
I saw the current whirl and flash,
And richly, by the blue lake's silver beach,
The woods were bending with a silent reach.
Then o'er the vale, with gentle swell,
The music of the village bell
Came sweetly to the echo-giving hills;
And the wild horn, whose voice the woodland fills,
Was ringing to the merry shout,
That faint and far the glen sent out,
Where, answering to the sudden shot, thin smoke,
Through thick-leaved branches, from the dingle broke.
If thou art worn and hard beset
With sorrows, that thou wouldst forget,
If thou wouldst read a lesson, that will keep
Thy heart from fainting and thy soul from sleep,
Go to the woods and hills! No tears
Dim the sweet look that Nature wears.
THE SPIRIT OF POETRY
There is a quiet spirit in these woods,
That dwells where'er the gentle south-wind blows;
Where, underneath the white-thorn, in the glade,
The wild flowers bloom, or, kissing the soft air,
The leaves above their sunny palms outspread.
With what a tender and impassioned voice
It fills the nice and delicate ear of thought,
When the fast ushering star of morning comes
O'er-riding the gray hills with golden scarf;
Or when the cowled and dusky-sandaled Eve,
In mourning weeds, from out the western gate,
Departs with silent pace! That spirit moves
In the green valley, where the silver brook,
From its full laver, pours the white cascade;
And, babbling low amid the tangled woods,
Slips down through moss-grown stones with endless laughter.
And frequent, on the everlasting hills,
Its feet go forth, when it doth wrap itself
In all the dark embroidery of the storm,
And shouts the stern, strong wind. And here, amid
The silent majesty of these deep woods,
Its presence shall uplift thy thoughts from earth,
As to the sunshine and the pure, bright air
Their tops the green trees lift. Hence gifted bards
Have ever loved the calm and quiet shades.
For them there was an eloquent voice in all
The sylvan pomp of woods, the golden sun,
The flowers, the leaves, the river on its way,
Blue skies, and silver clouds, and gentle winds,
The swelling upland, where the sidelong sun
Aslant the wooded slope, at evening, goes,
Groves, through whose broken roof the sky looks in,
Mountain, and shattered cliff, and sunny vale,
The distant lake, fountains, and mighty trees,
In many a lazy syllable, repeating
Their old poetic legends to the wind.
And this is the sweet spirit, that doth fill
The world; and, in these wayward days of youth,
My busy fancy oft embodies it,
As a bright image of the light and beauty
That dwell in nature; of the heavenly forms
We worship in our dreams, and the soft hues
That stain the wild bird's wing, and flush the clouds
When the sun sets. Within her tender eye
The heaven of April, with its changing light,
And when it wears the blue of May, is hung,
And on her lip the rich, red rose. Her hair
Is like the summer tresses of the trees,
When twilight makes them brown, and on her cheek
Blushes the richness of an autumn sky,
With ever-shifting beauty. Then her breath,
It is so like the gentle air of Spring,
As, front the morning's dewy flowers, it comes
Full of their fragrance, that it is a joy
To have it round us, and her silver voice
Is the rich music of a summer bird,
Heard in the still night, with its passionate cadence.
BURIAL OF THE MINNISINK
On sunny slope and beechen swell,
The shadowed light of evening fell;
And, where the maple's leaf was brown,
With soft and silent lapse came down,
The glory, that the wood receives,
At sunset, in its golden leaves.
Far upward in the mellow light
Rose the blue hills. One cloud of white,
Around a far uplifted cone,
In the warm blush of evening shone;
An image of the silver lakes,
By which the Indian's soul awakes.
But soon a funeral hymn was heard
Where the soft breath of evening stirred
The tall, gray forest; and a band
Of stern in heart, and strong in hand,
Came winding down beside the wave,
To lay the red chief in his grave.
They sang, that by his native bowers
He stood, in the last moon of flowers,
And thirty snows had not yet shed
Their glory on the warrior's head;
But, as the summer fruit decays,
So died he in those naked days.
A dark cloak of the roebuck's skin
Covered the warrior, and within
Its heavy folds the weapons, made
For the hard toils of war, were laid;
The cuirass, woven of plaited reeds,
And the broad belt of shells and beads.
Before, a dark-haired virgin train
Chanted the death dirge of the slain;
Behind, the long procession came
Of hoary men and chiefs of fame,
With heavy hearts, and eyes of grief,
Leading the war-horse of their chief.
Stripped of his proud and martial dress,
Uncurbed, unreined, and riderless,
With darting eye, and nostril spread,
And heavy and impatient tread,
He came; and oft that eye so proud
Asked for his rider in the crowd.
They buried the dark chief; they freed
Beside the grave his battle steed;
And swift an arrow cleaved its way
To his stern heart! One piercing neigh
Arose, and, on the dead man's plain,
The rider grasps his steed again.
Ye voices, that arose
After the Evening's close,
And whispered to my restless heart repose!
Go, breathe it in the ear
Of all who doubt and fear,
And say to them, "Be of good cheer!"
Ye sounds, so low and calm,
That in the groves of balm
Seemed to me like an angel's psalm!
Go, mingle yet once more
With the perpetual roar
Of the pine forest dark and hoar!
Tongues of the dead, not lost
But speaking from deaths frost,
Like fiery tongues at Pentecost!
Glimmer, as funeral lamps,
Amid the chills and damps
Of the vast plain where Death encamps!
BALLADS AND OTHER POEMS
THE SKELETON IN ARMOR
"Speak! speak I thou fearful guest
Who, with thy hollow breast
Still in rude armor drest,
Comest to daunt me!
Wrapt not in Eastern balms,
Bat with thy fleshless palms
Stretched, as if asking alms,
Why dost thou haunt me?"
Then, from those cavernous eyes
Pale flashes seemed to rise,
As when the Northern skies
Gleam in December;
And, like the water's flow
Under December's snow,
Came a dull voice of woe
From the heart's chamber.
"I was a Viking old!
My deeds, though manifold,
No Skald in song has told,
No Saga taught thee!
Take heed, that in thy verse
Thou dost the tale rehearse,
Else dread a dead man's curse;
For this I sought thee.
"Far in the Northern Land,
By the wild Baltic's strand,
I, with my childish hand,
Tamed the gerfalcon;
And, with my skates fast-bound,
Skimmed the half-frozen Sound,
That the poor whimpering hound
Trembled to walk on.
"Oft to his frozen lair
Tracked I the grisly bear,
While from my path the hare
Fled like a shadow;
Oft through the forest dark
Followed the were-wolf's bark,
Until the soaring lark
Sang from the meadow.
"But when I older grew,
Joining a corsair's crew,
O'er the dark sea I flew
With the marauders.
Wild was the life we led;
Many the souls that sped,
Many the hearts that bled,
By our stern orders.
"Many a wassail-bout
Wore the long Winter out;
Often our midnight shout
Set the cocks crowing,
As we the Berserk's tale
Measured in cups of ale,
Draining the oaken pail,
Filled to o'erflowing.
"Once as I told in glee
Tales of the stormy sea,
Soft eyes did gaze on me,
Burning yet tender;
And as the white stars shine
On the dark Norway pine,
On that dark heart of mine
Fell their soft splendor.
"I wooed the blue-eyed maid,
Yielding, yet half afraid,
And in the forest's shade
Our vows were plighted.
Under its loosened vest
Fluttered her little breast
Like birds within their nest
By the hawk frighted.
"Bright in her father's hall
Shields gleamed upon the wall,
Loud sang the minstrels all,
Chanting his glory;
When of old Hildebrand
I asked his daughter's hand,
Mute did the minstrels stand
To hear my story.
"While the brown ale he quaffed,
Loud then the champion laughed,
And as the wind-gusts waft
The sea-foam brightly,
So the loud laugh of scorn,
Out of those lips unshorn,
From the deep drinking-horn
Blew the foam lightly.
"She was a Prince's child,
I but a Viking wild,
And though she blushed and smiled,
I was discarded!
Should not the dove so white
Follow the sea-mew's flight,
Why did they leave that night
Her nest unguarded?
"Scarce had I put to sea,
Bearing the maid with me,
Fairest of all was she
Among the Norsemen!
When on the white sea-strand,
Waving his armed hand,
Saw we old Hildebrand,
With twenty horsemen.
"Then launched they to the blast,
Bent like a reed each mast,
Yet we were gaining fast,
When the wind failed us;
And with a sudden flaw
Came round the gusty Skaw,
So that our foe we saw
Laugh as he hailed us.
"And as to catch the gale
Round veered the flapping sail,
Death I was the helmsman's hail,
Death without quarter!
Mid-ships with iron keel
Struck we her ribs of steel
Down her black hulk did reel
Through the black water!
"As with his wings aslant,
Sails the fierce cormorant,
Seeking some rocky haunt
With his prey laden,
So toward the open main,
Beating to sea again,
Through the wild hurricane,
Bore I the maiden.
"Three weeks we westward bore,
And when the storm was o'er,
Cloud-like we saw the shore
Stretching to leeward;
There for my lady's bower
Built I the lofty tower,
Which, to this very hour,
Stands looking seaward.
"There lived we many years;
Time dried the maiden's tears
She had forgot her fears,
She was a mother.
Death closed her mild blue eyes,
Under that tower she lies;
Ne'er shall the sun arise
On such another!
"Still grew my bosom then.
Still as a stagnant fen!
Hateful to me were men,
The sunlight hateful!
In the vast forest here,
Clad in my warlike gear,
Fell I upon my spear,
O, death was grateful!
"Thus, seamed with many scars,
Bursting these prison bars,
Up to its native stars
My soul ascended!
There from the flowing bowl
Deep drinks the warrior's soul,
Skoal! to the Northland! skoal!"
Thus the tale ended.
THE WRECK OF THE HESPERUS
It was the schooner Hesperus,
That sailed the wintry sea;
And the skipper had taken his little daughter,
To bear him company.
Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
That ope in the month of May.
The skipper he stood beside the helm,
His pipe was in his month,
And he watched how the veering flaw did blow
The smoke now West, now South.
Then up and spake an old Sailor,
Had sailed to the Spanish Main,
"I pray thee, put into yonder port,
For I fear a hurricane.
"Last night, the moon had a golden ring,
And to-night no moon we see!"
The skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipe,
And a scornful laugh laughed he.
Colder and louder blew the wind,
A gale from the Northeast.
The snow fell hissing in the brine,
And the billows frothed like yeast.
Down came the storm, and smote amain
The vessel in its strength;
She shuddered and paused, like a frighted steed,
Then leaped her cable's length.
"Come hither! come hither! my little daughter,
And do not tremble so;
For I can weather the roughest gale
That ever wind did blow."
He wrapped her warm in his seaman's coat
Against the stinging blast;
He cut a rope from a broken spar,
And bound her to the mast.
"O father! I hear the church-bells ring,
O say, what may it be?"
"'Tis a fog-bell on a rock-bound coast!"--
And he steered for the open sea.
"O father! I hear the sound of guns,
O say, what may it be?"
"Some ship in distress, that cannot live
In such an angry sea!"
"O father! I see a gleaming light
O say, what may it be?"
But the father answered never a word,
A frozen corpse was he.
Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark,
With his face turned to the skies,
The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow
On his fixed and glassy eyes.
Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed
That saved she might be;
And she thought of Christ, who stilled the wave,
On the Lake of Galilee.
And fast through the midnight dark and drear,
Through the whistling sleet and snow,
Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept
Tow'rds the reef of Norman's Woe.
And ever the fitful gusts between
A sound came from the land;
It was the sound of the trampling surf
On the rocks and the hard sea-sand.
The breakers were right beneath her bows,
She drifted a dreary wreck,
And a whooping billow swept the crew
Like icicles from her deck.
She struck where the white and fleecy waves
Looked soft as carded wool,
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side
Like the horns of an angry bull.
Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
With the masts went by the board;
Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank,
Ho! ho! the breakers roared!
At daybreak, on the bleak sea-beach,
A fisherman stood aghast,
To see the form of a maiden fair,
Lashed close to a drifting mast.
The salt sea was frozen on her breast,
The salt tears in her eyes;
And he saw her hair, like the brown sea-weed,
On the billows fall and rise.
Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,
In the midnight and the snow!
Christ save us all from a death like this,
On the reef of Norman's Woe!
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
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,
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,
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;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And bear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.
He goes on Sunday to the church,
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.
It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
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