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He wrapped her warm in his seaman's coat
Against the stinging blast;
from a broken

And bound her to the mast.

He cut a rope

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“O father! I hear the church-bells ring,

Oh say, what may it be?” “ 'T is a fog-bell on a rock-bound coast!”

And he steered for the open sea.

“O father! I hear the sound of guns,
Oh say, what may it be?”

“Some ship in distress, that cannot live

In such an angry sea ! ”

“O father! I see a gleaming light,

Oh 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,

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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!


In the autumn of 1839 Mr. Longfellow was writing psalms, as seen above, and he notes in his diary, October 5th : “ Wrote a new Psalm of Life. It is The Village Blacksmith.A year later he was thinking of ballads, and he writes to his father, October 25th : “My pen has not been very prolific of late; only a little poetry has trickled from it. There will be a kind of ballad on a Blacksmith in the next Knickerbocker [November, 1840], which you may consider, if you please, as a song in praise of your ancestor at Newbury [the first Stephen Longfellow].” It is hardly to be supposed, however, that the form of the poem had been changed during the year. The suggestion of the poem came from the smithy which the poet passed daily, and which stood beneath a horse-chestnut tree not far from his house in Cambridge. The tree was removed in 1876, against the protests of Mr. Longfellow and others, on the ground that it imperilled drivers of heavy loads who passed under it. The correction in the twenty-third line is not to the earliest form. It is one suggested during Mr. Longfellow's life-time, and accepted by him as a desirable one, but not actually made in any edition. Mr. Longfellow thought the original form had become fixed, and could not well be altered.

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 hear 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,

How in the grave she lies ; And with his hard, rough hand he wipes

A tear out of his eyes.

Line 15. And watch the burning sparks that fly

Toiling, — rejoicing,

rejoicing, — sorrowing, Onward through life he goes; Each morning sees some task begin,

Each evening sees it close; Something attempted, something done,

Has earned a night's repose.

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Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,

For the lesson thou hast taught ! Thus at the flaming forge of life

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,
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,

When, sleeping in the grove,
He dreamed not of her love.

Like Dian's kiss, unasked, unsought,
Love gives itself, but is not bought;

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