Poems 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!— 
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 —act 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. 

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 

Song of the Silent Land 
(Lied: Ins Stille Land) 

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! 

The Skeleton in Armor

"SPEAK! speak! thou fearful guest! 
Who, with thy hollow breast 
Still in rude armor drest, 
Comest to daunt me! 
Wrapt not in Eastern balms, 5 
But with thy fleshless palms 
Stretched, as if asking alms, 
Why dost thou haunt me?" 

Then, from those cavernous eyes 
Pale flashes seemed to rise, 10 
As when the Northern skies 
Gleam in December; 
And, like the water's flow 
Under December's snow, 
Came a dull voice of woe 15 
From the heart's chamber. 

"I was a Viking old! 
My deeds, though manifold, 
No Skald in song has told, 
No Saga taught thee! 20 
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, 25 
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, 30 
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 35 
Fled like a shadow; 
Oft through the forest dark 
Followed the were-wolf's bark, 
Until the soaring lark 
Sang from the meadow. 40 

"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; 45 
Many the souls that sped, 
Many the hearts that bled, 
By our stern orders. 

"Many a wassail-bout 
Wore the long Winter out; 50 
Often our midnight shout 
Set the cocks crowing, 
As we the Berserk's tale 
Measured in cups of ale, 
Draining the oaken pail, 55 
Filled to o'erflowing. 

"Once as I told in glee 
Tales of the stormy sea, 
Soft eyes did gaze on me, 
Burning yet tender; 60 
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, 65 
Yielding, yet half afraid, 
And in the forest's shade 
Our vows were plighted. 
Under its loosened vest 
Fluttered her little breast, 70 
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, 75 
Chanting his glory; 
When of old Hildebrand 
I asked his daughter's hand, 
Mute did the minstrels stand 
To hear my story. 80 

"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, 85 
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, 90 
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 95 
Her nest unguarded? 

"Scarce had I put to sea, 
Bearing the maid with me, 
Fairest of all was she 
Among the Norsemen! 100 
When on the white sea-strand, 
Waving his armèd hand, 
Saw we old Hildebrand, 
With twenty horsemen. 

"Then launched they to the blast, 105 
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, 110 
So that our foe we saw 
Laugh as he hailed us. 

"And as to catch the gale 
Round veered the flapping sail, 
'Death!' was the helmsman's hail, 115 
'Death without quarter!' 
Mid-ships with iron keel 
Struck we her ribs of steel; 
Down her black hulk did reel 
Through the black water! 120 

"As with his wings aslant, 
Sails the fierce cormorant, 
Seeking some rocky haunt, 
With his prey laden, 
So toward the open main, 125 
Beating to sea again, 
Through the wild hurricane, 
Bore I the maiden. 

"Three weeks we westward bore, 
And when the storm was o'er, 130 
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, 135 
Stands looking seaward. 

"There lived we many years; 
Time dried the maiden's tears; 
She had forgot her fears, 
She was a mother; 140 
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, 145 
Still as a stagnant fen! 
Hateful to me were men, 
The sunlight hateful! 
In the vast forest here, 
Clad in my warlike gear, 150 
Fell I upon my spear, 
Oh, death was grateful! 

"Thus, seamed with many scars, 
Bursting these prison bars, 
Up to its native stars 155 
My soul ascended! 
There from the flowing bowl 
Deep drinks the warrior's soul, 
Skoal! to the Northland! skoal!" 
Thus the tale ended. 160 

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. 

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! 


THE RISING moon has hid the stars; 
Her level rays, like golden bars, 
Lie on the landscape green, 
With shadows brown between. 

And silver white the river gleams, 5 
As if Diana, in her dreams, 
Had dropt her silver bow 
Upon the meadows low. 

On such a tranquil night as this, 
She woke Endymion with a kiss, 10 
When, sleeping in the grove, 
He dreamed not of her love. 

Like Dian's kiss, unasked, unsought, 
Love gives itself, but is not bought; 
Nor voice, nor sound betrays 15 
Its deep, impassioned gaze. 

It comes,—the beautiful, the free, 
The crown of all humanity,— 
In silence and alone 
To seek the elected one. 20 

It lifts the boughs, whose shadows deep 
Are Life's oblivion, the soul's sleep, 
And kisses the closed eyes 
Of him who slumbering lies. 

O weary hearts! O slumbering eyes! 25 
O drooping souls, whose destinies 
Are fraught with fear and pain, 
Ye shall be loved again! 

No one is so accursed by fate, 
No one so utterly desolate, 30 
But some heart, though unknown, 
Responds unto his own. 

Responds,—as if with unseen wings, 
An angel touched its quivering strings; 
And whispers, in its song, 35 
"Where hast thou stayed so long?" 


MAIDEN! with the meek brown eyes  
In whose orbs a shadow lies 
Like the dusk in evening skies! 

Thou whose locks outshine the sun  
Golden tresses wreathed in one 5 
As the braided streamlets run! 

Standing with reluctant feet  
Where the brook and river meet  
Womanhood and childhood fleet! 

Gazing with a timid glance 10 
On the brooklet's swift advance  
On the river's broad expanse! 

Deep and still that gliding stream 
Beautiful to thee must seem  
As the river of a dream. 15 

Then why pause with indecision  
When bright angels in thy vision 
Beckon thee to fields Elysian? 

Seest thou shadows sailing by  
As the dove with startled eye 20 
Sees the falcon's shadow fly? 

Hearest thou voices on the shore  
That our ears perceive no more  
Deafened by the cataract's roar? 

Oh thou child of many prayers! 25 
Life hath quicksands Life hath snares! 
Care and age come unawares! 

Like the swell of some sweet tune 
Morning rises into noon  
May glides onward into June. 30 

Childhood is the bough where slumbered 
Birds and blossoms many numbered;— 
Age that bough with snows encumbered. 

Gather then each flower that grows  
When the young heart overflows 35 
To embalm that tent of snows. 

Bear a lily in thy hand; 
Gates of brass cannot withstand 
One touch of that magic wand. 

Bear through sorrow wrong and ruth 40 
In thy heart the dew of youth  
On thy lips the smile of truth. 

O that dew like balm shall steal 
Into wounds that cannot heal 
Even as sleep our eyes doth seal; 45 

And that smile like sunshine dart 
Into many a sunless heart  
For a smile of God thou art. 


THE SHADES of night were falling fast  
As through an Alpine village passed 
A youth who bore 'mid snow and ice  
A banner with the strange device  
Excelsior! 5 

His brow was sad; his eye beneath  
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath  
And like a silver clarion rung 
The accents of that unknown tongue  
Excelsior! 10 

In happy homes he saw the light 
Of household fires gleam warm and bright; 
Above the spectral glaciers shone  
And from his lips escaped a groan  
Excelsior! 15 

Try not the Pass! the old man said; 
Dark lowers the tempest overhead, 
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!  
And loud that clarion voice replied  
Excelsior! 20 

Oh, stay, the maiden said and rest 
Thy weary head upon this breast!  
A tear stood in his bright blue eye  
But still he answered with a sigh  
Excelsior! 25 

Beware the pine-tree's withered branch! 
Beware the awful avalanche!  
This was the peasant's last Good-night  
A voice replied far up the height  
Excelsior! 30 

At break of day as heavenward 
The pious monks of Saint Bernard 
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer  
A voice cried through the startled air  
Excelsior! 35 

A traveller by the faithful hound  
Half-buried in the snow was found  
Still grasping in his hand of ice 
That banner with the strange device  
Excelsior! 40 

There in the twilight cold and gray  
Lifeless but beautiful he lay  
And from the sky serene and far  
A voice fell like a falling star  
Excelsior! 45 

The Arsenal at Springfield

THIS is the Arsenal. From floor to ceiling  
Like a huge organ rise the burnished arms; 
But from their silent pipes no anthem pealing 
Startles the villages with strange alarms. 

Ah! what a sound will rise how wild and dreary 5 
When the death-angel touches those swift keys! 
What loud lament and dismal Miserere 
Will mingle with their awful symphonies! 

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

On helm and harness rings the Saxon hammer  
Through Cimbric forest roars the Norseman's song  
And loud amid the universal clamor 15 
O'er distant deserts sounds the Tartar gong. 

I hear the Florentine who from his palace 
Wheels out his battle-bell with dreadful din  
And Aztec priests upon their teocallis 
Beat the wild war-drums made of serpent's skin; 20 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


IN the valley of the Pegnitz, where across broad meadowlands 
Rise the blue Franconian mountains, Nuremberg, the ancient, stands. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emigravit is the inscription on the tombstone where he lies; 25 
Dead he is not, but departed,—for the artist never dies. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 


WHEN descends on the Atlantic 
The gigantic 
Storm-wind of the equinox  
Landward in his wrath he scourges 
The toiling surges 5 
Laden with seaweed from the rocks: 

From Bermuda's reefs; from edges 
Of sunken ledges  
In some far-off bright Azore; 
From Bahama and the dashing 10 
Surges of San Salvador; 

From the tumbling surf that buries 
The Orkneyan skerries  
Answering the hoarse Hebrides; 15 
And from wrecks of ships and drifting 
Spars uplifting 
On the desolate rainy seas;— 

Ever drifting drifting drifting 
On the shifting 20 
Currents of the restless main; 
Till in sheltered coves and reaches 
Of sandy beaches  
All have found repose again. 

So when storms of wild emotion 25 
Strike the ocean 
Of the poet's soul erelong 
From each cave and rocky fastness  
In its vastness  
Floats some fragment of a song: 30 

From the far-off isles enchanted  
Heaven has planted 
With the golden fruit of Truth; 
From the flashing surf whose vision 
Gleams Elysian 35 
In the tropic clime of Youth; 

From the strong Will and the Endeavor 
That forever 
Wrestle with the tides of Fate; 
From the wreck of Hopes far-scattered 40 
Floating waste and desolate;— 

Ever drifting drifting drifting 
On the shifting 
Currents of the restless heart; 45 
Till at length in books recorded  
They like hoarded 
Household words no more depart. 


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 —the child of our affection — 
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 — 

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. 

The Warden of the Cinque Ports

A MIST was driving down the British Channel, 
The day was just begun, 
And through the window-panes, on floor and panel, 
Streamed the red autumn sun. 

It glanced on flowing flag and rippling pennon, 5 
And the white sails of ships; 
And, from the frowning rampart, the black cannon 
Hailed it with feverish lips. 

Sandwich and Romney, Hastings, Hithe, and Dover, 
Were all alert that day, 10 
To see the French war-steamers speeding over, 
When the fog cleared away. 

Sullen and silent, and like couchant lions, 
Their cannon, through the night, 
Holding their breath, had watched, in grim defiance, 15 
The sea-coast opposite. 

And now they roared at drum-beat from their stations, 
On every citadel; 
Each answering each, with morning salutations, 
That all was well. 20 

And down the coast, all taking up the burden, 
Replied the distant forts, 
As if to summon from his sleep the Warden 
And Lord of the Cinque Ports. 

Him shall no sunshine from the fields of azure, 25 
No drum-beat from the wall, 
No morning gun from the black fort's embrasure, 
Awaken with its call! 

No more, surveying with an eye impartial 
The long line of the coast, 30 
Shall the gaunt figure of the old Field Marshal 
Be seen upon his post! 

For in the night, unseen, a single warrior, 
In sombre harness mailed, 
Dreaded of man, and surnamed the Destroyer, 35 
The rampart wall had scaled. 

He passed into the chamber of the sleeper, 
The dark and silent room, 
And as he entered, darker grew, and deeper, 
The silence and the gloom. 40 

He did not pause to parley or dissemble, 
But smote the Warden hoar; 
Ah! what a blow! that made all England tremble 
And groan from shore to shore. 

Meanwhile, without, the surly cannon waited, 45 
The sun rose bright o'erhead; 
Nothing in Nature's aspect intimated 
That a great man was dead. 

My Lost Youth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Cumberland

AT anchor in Hampton Roads we lay, 
On board of the Cumberland, sloop-of-war; 
And at times from the fortress across the bay 
The alarum of drums swept past, 
Or a bugle blast 5 
From the camp on the shore. 

Then far away to the south uprose 
A little feather of snow-white smoke, 
And we knew that the iron ship of our foes 
Was steadily steering its course 10 
To try the force 
Of our ribs of oak. 

Down upon us heavily runs, 
Silent and sullen, the floating fort; 
Then comes a puff of smoke from her guns, 15 
And leaps the terrible death, 
With fiery breath, 
From each open port. 

We are not idle, but send her straight 
Defiance back in a full broadside! 20 
As hail rebounds from a roof of slate, 
Rebounds our heavier hail 
From each iron scale 
Of the monster's hide. 

"Strike your flag!" the rebel cries, 25 
In his arrogant old plantation strain. 
"Never!" our gallant Morris replies; 
"It is better to sink than to yield!" 
And the whole air pealed 
With the cheers of our men. 30 

Then, like a kraken huge and black, 
She crushed our ribs in her iron grasp! 
Down went the Cumberland all a wrack, 
With a sudden shudder of death, 
And the cannon's breath 35 
For her dying gasp. 

Next morn, as the sun rose over the bay, 
Still floated our flag at the mainmast head. 
Lord, how beautiful was Thy day! 
Every waft of the air 40 
Was a whisper of prayer, 
Or a dirge for the dead. 

Ho! brave hearts that went down in the seas! 
Ye are at peace in the troubled stream; 
Ho! brave land! with hearts like these, 45 
Thy flag, that is rent in twain, 
Shall be one again, 
And without a seam!

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