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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,
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.
AFTERNOON IN FEBRUARY.
Published in Graham's Magazine, September, 1845.
THE day is ending,
The river dead.
Through clouds like ashes
That glimmer red.
The snow recommences ;
The road o'er the plain;
“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,
The ungrateful world
There are marks of age,
Soiled and dull thou art;
Thou art stained with wine
Yet dost thou recall
When I paused to hear
Thou recallest bards,
Thou recallest homes
Once some ancient Scald,
Once in Elsinore,
Once Prince Frederick's Guard
Peasants in the field,
Thou hast been their friend;
And, as swallows build