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The Day is Done

The Day Is Done

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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

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,

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,

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.

 

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,

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,

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

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.

 

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.

Footsteps of Angels

Footsteps of Angels

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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

Haunted Houses

Haunted Houses

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

All houses wherein men have lived and died

Are haunted houses. Through the open doors

The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,

With feet that make no sound upon the floors.

 

We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,

Along the passages they come and go,

Impalpable impressions on the air,

A sense of something moving to and fro.

 

There are more guests at table than the hosts

Invited; the illuminated hall

Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,

As silent as the pictures on the wall.

 

The stranger at my fireside cannot see

The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;

He but perceives what is; while unto me

All that has been is visible and clear.

 

We have no title-deeds to house or lands;

Owners and occupants of earlier dates

From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,

And hold in mortmain still their old estates.

 

The spirit-world around this world of sense

Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere

Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense

A vital breath of more ethereal air.

 

Our little lives are kept in equipoise

By opposite attractions and desires;

The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,

And the more noble instinct that aspires.

 

These perturbations, this perpetual jar

Of earthly wants and aspirations high,

Come from the influence of an unseen star

An undiscovered planet in our sky.

 

And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud

Throws o’er the sea a floating bridge of light,

Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd

Into the realm of mystery and night,

 

So from the world of spirits there descends

A bridge of light, connecting it with this,

O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,

Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.