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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.


Published in Graham's Magazine, September, 1845.

THE day is ending,
The night is descending ;
The marsh is frozen,

The river dead.

Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows

That glimmer red.

The snow recommences ;
The buried fences
Mark no longer

The road o'er the plain;

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“October 6, 1845. F.'s birthday. I ought to have written a poem for the occasion. Instead of doing so, I wrote the song without rhyme, To an Old Danish Song Book.

“October 7. Retouched and finished the song of yesterday. What said of the Scald refers, of course, only to some of the melodies, which may possibly be as old as the days of Hakon Jarl, or older. Hamlet and Yorick are only symbolical of any old king and his jester.”

A couple of years later, Mr. Longfellow was reading Andersen's Story of my Life, and he notes : " Autumn always brings back very freshly my autumnal sojourn in Copenhagen, delightfully mingled with bracing air and yellow falling leaves. I have tried to record the impression in the song To an Old Danish Song Book."

WELCOME, my old friend,
Welcome to a foreign fireside,
While the sullen gales of autumn
Shake the windows.

The ungrateful world
Has, it seems, dealt harshly with thee,
Since, beneath the skies of Denmark,
First I met thee.

There are marks of age,
There are thumb-marks on thy margin,
Made by hands that clasped thee rudely,
At the alehouse.

Soiled and dull thou art;
Yellow are thy time-worn pages,
As the russet, rain-molested
Leaves of autumn.

Thou art stained with wine
Scattered from hilarious goblets,
As the leaves with the libations
Of Olympus.

Yet dost thou recall
Days departed, half-forgotten,
When in dreamy youth I wandered
By the Baltic, -

When I paused to hear
The old ballad of King Christian
Shouted from suburban taverns
In the twilight.

Thou recallest bards,
Who, in solitary chambers,
And with hearts by passion wasted,
Wrote thy pages.

Thou recallest homes
Where thy songs of love and friendship
Made the gloomy Northern winter
Bright as summer.

Once some ancient Scald,
In his bleak, ancestral Iceland,
Chanted staves of these old ballads
To the Vikings.

Once in Elsinore,
At the court of old King Hamlet,
Yorick and his boon companions
Sang these ditties.

Once Prince Frederick's Guard
Sang them in their smoky barracks ;
Suddenly the English cannon
Joined the chorus !

Peasants in the field,
Sailors on the roaring ocean,
Students, tradesmen, pale mechanics,
All have sung them.

Thou hast been their friend;
They, alas ! have left thee friendless!
Yet at least by one warm fireside
Art thou welcome.

And, as swallows build
In these wide, old-fashioned chimneys,
So thy twittering song shall nestle
In my bosom,

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