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Nor voice, nor sound betrays
It comes, the beautiful, the free,
In silence and alone
It lifts the boughs, whose shadows deep
And kisses the closed eyes
O weary hearts ! O slumbering eyes ! !
Are fraught with fear and pain,
No one is so accursed by fate,
But some heart, though unknown,
Responds, as if with unseen wings,
And whispers, in its song,
IT IS NOT ALWAYS MAY.
No hay pájaros en los nidos de antaño.
Spanish Proverb. The sun is bright, the air is clear,
The darting swallows soar and sing, And from the stately elms I hear
The bluebird prophesying Spring.
So blue yon winding river flows,
It seems an outlet from the sky, Where, waiting till the west wind blows,
The freighted clouds at anchor lie.
All things are new ; - the buds, the leaves,
That gild the elm-tree's nodding crest, And even the nest beneath the eaves ;
There are no birds in last year's nest !
All things rejoice in youth and love,
The fulness of their first delight ! And learn from the soft heavens above
The melting tenderness of night.
Maiden, that read'st this simple rhyme,
Enjoy thy youth, it will not stay; Enjoy the fragrance of thy prime,
For oh, it is not always May !
Enjoy the Spring of Love and Youth,
To some good angel leave the rest ; For Time will teach thee soon the truth,
There are no birds in last year's nest !
THE RAINY DAY.
Written at the old home in Portland.
The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
And the day is dark and dreary.
My life is cold, and dark, and dreary ;
And the days are dark and dreary.
Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Some days must be dark and dreary.
Written October 23, 1841.
" I would like to be burned, not buried,” Mr. Longfellow notes, and in a letter to Mr. Ward, who had the poem in his hands for publication, he writes : “I here add a concluding stanza for God's- Acre, which I think improves the piece and rounds it off more fectly than before, the thought no longer resting on the cold furrow, but on the waving The poem was published with this additional stanza in The Democratic Review for December, 1841, but when it came to be added to the volume the stanza was dropped.
harvest beyond :
Green gate of Paradise ! let in the sun!
Unclose thy portals, that we may behold Those fields elysian, where bright rivers run,
And waving harvests bend like seas of gold.
I LIKE that ancient Saxon phrase, which calls
The burial-ground God's-Acre! It is just ; It consecrates each grave within its walls,
And breathes a benison o'er the sleeping dust.
God's-Acre! Yes, that blessed name imparts
have The seed that they had garnered in their hearts,
Their bread of life, alas! no more their own.
Into its furrows shall we all be cast,
In the sure faith, that we shall rise again At the great harvest, when the archangel's blast
Shall winnow, like a fan, the chaff and grain.
Then shall the good stand in immortal bloom,
In the fair gardens of that second birth; And each bright blossom mingle its perfume With that of flowers, which never bloomed on
With thy rude ploughshare, Death, turn up the
sod, And spread the furrow for the seed we sow; This is the field and Acre of our God,
This is the place where human harvests grow.
TO THE RIVER CHARLES.
“I wrote the other evening [October, 1841] a song to the River Charles ; quite successful; though, as it is local, I think it had better appear first in the volume, not in any magazine.” But Mr. Longfellow yielded to the urging of his correspondent, Mr. Ward, and consented to the appearance of the poem in Park Benjamin's paper, The New World. Mr. Benjamin, however, disposed of this and another poem sent at the same time to “respectable sources, giving as one reason : “I do not like the poems so well as many others you have written. They are by no means so worthy of your genius as Excelsior, a magnificent piece, which I regret having parted with.” The poem appeared in The Ladies' Companion, January, 1842. The three friends hinted at in the eighth stanza were Charles Sumner, Charles Folsom, and Charles Amory.
RIVER ! that in silence windest
Through the meadows, bright and free, Till at length thy rest thou findest
In the bosom of the sea !
Four long years of mingled feeling,
Half in rest, and half in strife,
Onward, like the stream of life.
Thou hast taught me, Silent River !
Many a lesson, deep and long ;
I can give thee but a song.
Oft in sadness and in illness,
I have watched thy current glide,
Overflowed me, like a tide.