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Till the bell of Ghent responded o'er lagoon and

dike of sand, “I am Roland ! I am Roland ! there is victory in

the land !”


Then the sound of drums aroused me. The

awakened city's roar Chased the phantoms I had summoned back into

their graves once more.

Hours had passed away like minutes; and, before

I was aware, Lo! the shadow of the belfry crossed the sun

illumined square.


The scene of this poem is mentioned in the poet's diary, under date of August 31, 1816. In the afternoon a delicious drive with F. and C. through Brookline, by the church and the green lane,' and homeward through a lovelier lane, with barberries and wild vines clustering over the old stone walls.”

This is the place. Stand still, my steed,

Let me review the scene,
And summon from the shadowy Past

The forms that once have been.

The Past and Present here unite

Beneath Time's flowing tide,
Like footprints hidden by a brook,

But seen on either side.

Here runs the highway to the town;

There the green lane descends,

Through which I walked to church with thee,

O O gentlest of my friends!

The shadow of the linden trees

Lay moving on the grass ;
Between them and the moving boughs,

A shadow, thou didst pass.

Thy dress was like the lilies,

And thy heart as pure as they : One of God's holy messengers

Did walk with me that day.

I saw the branches of the trees

Bend down thy touch to meet, The clover-blossoms in the grass

Rise up to kiss thy feet.

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6 Sleep, sleep to-day, tormenting cares,

Of earth and folly born!” Solemnly sang the village choir

On that sweet Sabbath morn.

Through the closed blinds the golden sun

Poured in a dusty beam, Like the celestial ladder seen

By Jacob in his dream.

And ever and anon, the wind

Sweet-scented with the hay, Turned o'er the hymn-book's fluttering leaves

That on the window lay.

Long was the good man's sermon,

Yet it seemed not so to me;
For he spake of Ruth the beautiful,

And still I thought of thee.

Long was the prayer he uttered,

Yet it seemed not so to me;
For in my heart I prayed with him,

And still I thought of thee.

But now, alas! the place seems changed ;

Thou art no longer here:
Part of the sunshine of the scene

With thee did disappear.

Though thoughts, deep-rooted in my heart,

Like pine trees dark and high,
Subdue the light of noon, and breathe

A low and ceaseless sigh ;

This memory brightens o'er the past,

As when the sun, concealed
Behind some cloud that near us hangs,

Shines on a distant field.


On his wedding journey in the summer of 1843, Mr. Longfellow passed through Springfield, Massachusetts, and visited the United States arsenal there, in company with Mr. Charles Sumner. “While Mr. Sumner was endeavoring,” says Mr. S. Longfellow, “to impress upon the attendant that the money expended upon these weapons of war would have been much better spent upon a great library, Mrs. Longfellow pleased her husband by remarking how like an organ looked the ranged and shining gun-barrels


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which covered the walls from floor to ceiling, and suggesting what mournful music Death would bring from them. “We grew quite warlike against war,' she wrote, “and I urged H. to write a peace poem.' The poem was written some months later and published in Graham's Magazine, April, 1844. Mr. Longfellow in writing of it to Mr. Sumner notes: “On the back of my peace poem is a paper called The Battle-Grounds of America. This is the reverse of the medal.”

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,

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, 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, O'er distant deserts sounds the Tartar


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 ;

The tumult of each sacked and burning village;

The shout 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 asun

der, The rattling musketry, the clashing blade; And ever and anon, in tones of thunder

The diapason of the cannonade.

Is it, О man, with such discordant noises,

With such accursed instruments as these, 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,

There were no need of arsenals or forts:

The warrior's name would be a name abhorred!

And every nation, that should lift again Its hand against a brother, on its forehead

Would wear forevermore the curse of Cain!

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!”

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