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by Kavanagh and Drift - Wood in the collected prose - works. Once only did he seem to falter, when, as noted in a previous volume of this series, he felt the fire of poetry burning low, and thought to gather the sticks of his scattered prose as a sort of final blaze.
Voices of the Night as originally published, and as repeated in all collective editions of Mr. Longfellow's poetry previous to this, comprised three
poems: those recently written and published in the Knickerbocker magazine ; a selection from his poems published in periodicals during and immediately after his college days; and translations which he had also contributed to periodicals and had inserted in Outre-Mer and Hyperion. He introduced the volume with Prelude and summed it up with L'Envoi. In accordance with the plan of the present edition, the group of translations is reserved for a later volume, where all poems of this class will be brought together. Otherwise this division agrees with the original volume, and the foot-note readings are from the first form of the poems in that edition. The title of the division strictly belongs to the eight poems which follow the Prelude ; originally it was applied particularly to the poem now entitled Footsteps of Angels.
The success of this volume was marked, and the tone in which the author speaks of it in his diary and letters, as well as the joyousness which pervades his life at this period, indicates how sincere and lasting was this new birth of song. He writes to his father, December 9, 1839: “ The Voices of
the Night will be out in a few days. It will succeed finely, I have no doubt.” In a letter to Mr. Greene, January 2, 1840, speaking of the book, he says :
“ Its success has been signal. It has not been out three weeks, and the publisher has not more than fifty copies left, out of nine hundred." Again, to the same correspondent, he writes, May 28, 1840 : “ The Poems have gone to a second edition; which is worth mentioning, as it does not often happen nowadays that a volume of poems runs through an edition so soon.' Five months later he announces to his father that the third edition is in press, and adds: “The publisher, John Owen, has so lively a faith in the continued sale of the work that he is stereotyping it.” This third edition was a limited one on large paper; the fourth was printing before the end of the year, and in April, 1841, he writes to his father : “I have the pleasure of informing you that the fifth edition of the Voices will go to press as soon as paper can be made or bought suitable for the purpose. I am very agreeably surprised at the success of the work."
Meanwhile he had been writing some of the most famous of his poems, and in the next season was considering the publication of a new volume. The publication of new volumes, however, did not cause Mr. Longfellow's first book to be forgotten. Although it was included in the Philadelphia illustrated edition which appeared in 1845, and again was included in the cheap edition in double columns, published early in 1846, he was able to write in his diary, July 7, 1846 :
“ Looked over accounts with printers and publishers. Find that between eleven and twelve thousand copies of the Voices of the Night have been sold.”
VOICES OF THE NIGHT
Πότνια, πότνια νυξ,
Written in the autumn of 1839, when the poems which it in. troduces were collected for publication in book form.
PLEASANT it was, when woods were green
And winds were soft and low,
Alternate come and go;
Or where the denser grove receives
No sunlight from above,
The shadows hardly move.
Beneath some patriarchal tree
I lay upon the ground;
Clapped their little hands in glee,
With one continuous sound;
A slumberous sound, a sound that brings
The feelings of a dream,
O'er meadow, lake, and stream.
And dreams of that which cannot die,
Bright visions, came to me,
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,