Poems and other writings /
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
New York : Library of America, c2000.
xiv, 854 p.
188301185X (alk. paper)
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uniform title
series title
New York : Library of America, c2000.
188301185X (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
First Chapter

Chapter One



The Spirit of Poetry

There is a quiet spirit in these woods,

That dwells where'er the gentle south-wind blows;

Where, underneath the white-thorn, in the glade,

The wild flowers bloom, or, kissing the soft air,

The leaves above their sunny palms outspread.

With what a tender and impassioned voice

It fills the nice and delicate ear of thought,

When the fast ushering star of morning comes

O'er-riding the gray hills with golden scarf;

Or when the cowled and dusky-sandalled Eve,

In mourning weeds, from out the western gate,

Departs with silent pace! That spirit moves

In the green valley, where the silver brook,

From its full laver, pours the white cascade;

And, babbling low amid the tangled woods,

Slips down through moss-grown stones with endless


And frequent, on the everlasting hills,

Its feet go forth, when it doth wrap itself

In all the dark embroidery of the storm,

And shouts the stern, strong wind. And here, amid

The silent majesty of these deep woods,

Its presence shall uplift thy thoughts from earth,

As to the sunshine and the pure, bright air

Their tops the green trees lift. Hence gifted bards

Have ever loved the calm and quiet shades.

For them there was an eloquent voice in all

The sylvan pomp of woods, the golden sun,

The flowers, the leaves, the river on its way,

Blue skies, and silver clouds, and gentle winds,

The swelling upland, where the sidelong sun

Aslant the wooded slope, at evening, goes,

Groves, through whose broken roof the sky looks in,

Mountain, and shattered cliff, and sunny vale,

The distant lake, fountains, and mighty trees,

In many a lazy syllable, repeating

Their old poetic legends to the wind.

    And this is the sweet spirit, that doth fill

The world; and, in these wayward days of youth,

My busy fancy oft embodies it,

As a bright image of the light and beauty

That dwell in nature; of the heavenly forms

We worship in our dreams, and the soft hues

That stain the wild bird's wing, and flush the clouds

When the sun sets. Within her tender eye

The heaven of April, with its changing light,

And when it wears the blue of May, is hung,

And on her lip the rich, red rose. Her hair

Is like the summer tresses of the trees,

When twilight makes them brown, and on her cheek

Blushes the richness of an autumn sky,

With ever-shifting beauty. Then her breath,

It is so like the gentle air of Spring,

As, from the morning's dewy flowers, it comes

Full of their fragrance, that it is a joy

To have it round us, and her silver voice

Is the rich music of a summer bird,

Heard in the still night, with its passionate cadence.

Hymn to the Night


I heard the trailing garments of the Night

    Sweep through her marble halls!

I saw her sable skirts all fringed with light

    From the celestial walls!

I felt her presence, by its spell of might,

    Stoop o'er me from above;

The calm, majestic presence of the Night,

    As of the one I love.

I heard the sounds of sorrow and delight,

    The manifold, soft chimes,

That fill the haunted chambers of the Night,

    Like some old poet's rhymes.

From the cool cisterns of the midnight air

    My spirit drank repose;

The fountain of perpetual peace flows there,--

    From those deep cisterns flows.

O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear

    What man has borne before!

Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Care,

    And they complain no more.

Peace! Peace! Orestes-like I breathe this prayer!

    Descend with broad-winged flight,

The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the most fair,

    The best-beloved Night!

A Psalm of Life

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,

    Life is but an empty dream!--

For the soul is dead that slumbers,

    And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!

    And the grave is not its goal;

Dust thou art, to dust returnest,

    Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,

    Is our destined end or way;

But to act, that each to-morrow

    Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,

    And our hearts, though stout and brave,

Still, like muffled drums, are beating

    Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,

    In the bivouac of Life,

Be not like dumb, driven cattle!

    Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!

    Let the dead Past bury its dead!

Act,--act in the living Present!

    Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us

    We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us

    Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,

    Sailing o'er life's solemn main,

A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,

    Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,

    With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing,

    Learn to labor and to wait.

The Light of Stars

The night is come, but not too soon;

    And sinking silently,

All silently, the little moon

Drops down behind the sky.

There is no light in earth or heaven

    But the cold light of stars;

And the first watch of night is given

    To the red planet Mars.

Is it the tender star of love?

    The star of love and dreams?

Oh no! from that blue tent above

    A hero's armor gleams.

And earnest thoughts within me rise,

    When I behold afar,

Suspended in the evening skies,

    The shield of that red star.

O star of strength! I see thee stand

    And smile upon my pain;

Thou beckonest with thy mailed hand,

    And I am strong again.

Within my breast there is no light

    But the cold light of stars;

I give the first watch of the night

    To the red planet Mars.

The star of the unconquered will,

    He rises in my breast,

Serene, and resolute, and still,

    And calm, and self-possessed.

And thou, too, whosoe'er thou art,

    That readest this brief psalm,

As one by one thy hopes depart,

    Be resolute and calm.

Oh, fear not in a world like this,

    And thou shalt know erelong,

Know how sublime a thing it is

    To suffer and be strong.

Footsteps of Angels

When the hours of Day are numbered,

    And the voices of the Night

Wake the better soul, that slumbered,

    To a holy, calm delight;

Ere the evening lamps are lighted,

    And, like phantoms grim and tall,

Shadows from the fitful firelight

    Dance upon the parlor wall;

Then the forms of the departed

    Enter at the open door;

The beloved, the true-hearted,

    Come to visit me once more;

He, the young and strong, who cherished

    Noble longings for the strife,

By the roadside fell and perished,

    Weary with the march of life!

They, the holy ones and weakly,

    Who the cross of suffering bore,

Folded their pale hands so meekly,

    Spake with us on earth no more!

And with them the Being Beauteous,

    Who unto my youth was given,

More than all things else to love me,

    And is now a saint in heaven.

With a slow and noiseless footstep

    Comes that messenger divine,

Takes the vacant chair beside me,

    Lays her gentle hand in mine.

And she sits and gazes at me

    With those deep and tender eyes,

Like the stars, so still and saint-like,

    Looking downward from the skies.

Uttered not, yet comprehended,

    Is the spirit's voiceless prayer,

Soft rebukes, in blessings ended,

    Breathing from her lips of air.

Oh, though oft depressed and lonely,

    All my fears are laid aside,

If I but remember only

    Such as these have lived and died!

Copyright © 2000 Literary Classics of the United States, Inc.. All rights reserved.

Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2000-08-25:
"By the shore of Gitchee Gumee,/ By the shining Big-Sea-Water..." Between the Civil War and the Great Depression, Longfellow (1807-1882) was America's best-loved poet. An audience so broad it's now hard to imagine enjoyed his well-told, metrically innovative narrative poems, like The Song of Hiawatha; schoolchildren memorized, and adults enjoyed, his accessible, often sententious lyric verse. Longfellow's vast and various output also included many translations of Dante and other European poets, verse-drama and a collection of shorter narratives, Tales of a Wayside Inn. (In his day job at Harvard, he helped invent the study of comparative literature.) In search of a new audience for Longfellow, editor McClatchy, a poet and critic himself (Ten Commandments; Twenty Questions), has rightly assembled a very generous selection, including all Longfellow's most famous poems, and all his best (they're not the same). Here are Hiawatha, Evangeline, The Courtship of Miles Standish and "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere." Here, too, are some surprisingly powerful lyric and meditative poemsÄwell made, deeply felt, and not much like the schoolhouse favorites. Among them are the ambitious, fast-moving "K‚ramos," which follows a potter's wheel around the world; metrical complexities like "The Rope-Walk" and "Snow-Flakes"; and the grief-charged sonnet "The Cross of Snow," about his long-dead wife. Longfellow's longtime residence in New England gave him a special gift for nautical themesÄhis poems about ships, sailing and the sea range from quick mood pieces to political allegories. TranslationsÄan important part of his workÄare also well represented. And historically minded readers will seek out his antislavery poems and his later verse on the Civil War. Near the end of the volume comes his nearly plotlessÄbut thoroughly charmingÄMaine novella, Kavanagh. Though he may never regain his onetime prestige, Longfellow at his best was more fun, smarter, deeper, and a better craftsman than readers nowadays imagine; this hefty volume may finally let them know. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2000-11-15:
The Library of America (LOA), already having a banner year, turns up the heat even more with this marvelous compilation. The collection includes his book-length poems such as Evangeline, The Song of Hiawatha, as well as fiction selections from Tales from a Wayside Inn, excerpts from his verse dramas, and essays. The volume brings back into print Longfellow's novel Kavanaugh, a Tale. The volume also features the usual LOA extras: a chronology of the author's life, scholarly notes, and, here, an index of first lines. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This item was reviewed in:
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Library Journal, November 2000
Library Journal, December 2000
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Main Description
No American writer of the 19th century was more universally enjoyed and admired than Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. His works were extraordinary bestsellers for their era, achieving fame both here and abroad. Now, for the first time in over 25 years. Poems and Other Writings offers a full-scale literary portrait of America's greatest popular poet. Here are the poems that created an American mythology: Evangeline in the forest primeval, Hiawatha by the shores of Gitchee Gumee, the midnight ride of Paul Revere, the wreck of the Hesperus, the village blacksmith under the spreading chestnut tree, the strange courtship of Miles Standish, the maiden Priscilla and the hesitant John Alden; verses, like "A Psalm of Life" and the "The Children's Hour", whose phrases and characters have become part of the culture. Erudite and fluent in many languages, Longfellow was endlessly fascinated with the byways of history and the curiosities of legend. His many poems on literary themes, such as his moving homages to Dante and Chaucer, his verse translations from Lope de Vega, Heinrich Heine, and Michelangelo, and his ambitious verse dramas, notably The New England Tragedies (also complete), are remarkable in their range and ambition. As a special feature, this volume restores to print Longfellow's novel Kavanagh, a study of small-town life and literary ambition that was praised by Emerson as an important contribution to the development of American fiction. A selection of essays rounds out of the volume and provides testimony to Longfellow's concern with creating an American national literature.
Table of Contents
The Spirit of Poetryp. 1
Hymn to the Nightp. 2
A Psalm of Lifep. 3
The Light of Starsp. 4
Footsteps of Angelsp. 6
The Skeleton in Armorp. 8
The Wreck of the Hesperusp. 12
The Village Blacksmithp. 15
It Is Not Always Mayp. 17
The Rainy Dayp. 18
God's-Acrep. 18
To the River Charlesp. 19
The Goblet of Lifep. 20
Excelsiorp. 22
The Slave's Dreamp. 24
The Slave Singing at Midnightp. 25
The Witnessesp. 26
The Warningp. 27
The Belfry of Brugesp. 29
A Glean of Sunshinep. 31
The Arsenal at Springfieldp. 33
Rain in Summerp. 35
To a Childp. 37
The Occultation of Orionp. 43
The Bridgep. 45
To the Driving Cloudp. 47
The Day Is Donep. 48
Afternoon in Februaryp. 50
The Old Clock on the Stairsp. 51
The Arrow and the Songp. 53
The Evening Starp. 53
Autumnp. 54
Dantep. 54
Curfewp. 55
Evangeline: A Tale of Acadiep. 57
The Building of the Shipp. 116
Seaweedp. 127
Chrysaorp. 128
Twilightp. 129
Sir Humphrey Gilbertp. 130
The Lighthousep. 131
The Fire of Drift-Woodp. 133
Resignationp. 135
The Buildersp. 136
Sand of the Desert in an Hour-Glassp. 138
The Open Windowp. 139
The Song of Hiawathap. 141
The Courtship of Miles Standishp. 280
Birds of Passagep. 323
The Ladder of St. Augustinep. 324
The Phantom Shipp. 326
The Warden of the Cinque Portsp. 328
Haunted Housesp. 329
In the Churchyard at Cambridgep. 331
The Emperor's Bird's-Nestp. 331
The Two Angelsp. 333
Daylight and Moonlightp. 335
The Jewish Cemetery at Newportp. 335
My Lost Youthp. 337
The Ropewalkp. 340
Daybreakp. 342
The Fiftieth Birthday of Agassizp. 343
Childrenp. 344
Sandalphonp. 345
The Children's Hourp. 347
Enceladusp. 348
The Cumberlandp. 349
Snow-Flakesp. 351
A Day of Sunshinep. 351
Something Left Undonep. 352
Wearinessp. 353
Prelude: The Wayside Innp. 354
The Landlord's Tale: Paul Revere's Ridep. 362
Interludep. 366
The Student's Tale: The Falcon of Ser Federigop. 367
Interludep. 375
The Spanish Jew's Tale: The Legend of Rabbi Ben Levip. 376
Interludep. 378
The Sicilian's Tale: King Robert of Sicilyp. 379
Interludep. 385
The Musician's Tale: The Saga of King Olafp. 386
Interludep. 431
The Theologian's Tale: Torquemadap. 433
Interludep. 439
The Poet's Tale: The Birds of Killingworthp. 440
Finalep. 446
The Spanish Jew's Tale: Kambalup. 447
The Student's Tale: The Cobbler of Hagenaup. 450
The Theologian's Tale: The Legend Beautifulp. 456
The Spanish Jew's Tale: Azraelp. 460
The Sicilian's Tale: The Monk of Casal-Maggiorep. 461
Finalep. 469
Palingenesisp. 472
Hawthornep. 474
Christmas Bellsp. 475
The Wind Over the Chimneyp. 476
Killed at the Fordp. 478
Giotto's Towerp. 479
Divina Commediap. 480
Mount Quarantaniap. 483
The Tower of Magdalap. 485
Simon Magus and Helen of Tyrep. 488
Pontius Pilatep. 492
Aceldamap. 494
A Covered Bridge at Lucernep. 495
The Devil's Bridgep. 498
The St. Gothard Passp. 500
John Endicottp. 502
Giles Corey of the Salem Farmsp. 561
Finale: St. Johnp. 612
The Haunted Chamberp. 615
The Meetingp. 616
Vox Populip. 617
Changedp. 617
The Challengep. 618
Aftermathp. 619
Morituri Salutamusp. 620
Belisariusp. 628
Three Friends of Minep. 629
Chaucerp. 631
Shakespearep. 632
Miltonp. 632
Keatsp. 633
The Galaxyp. 633
The Sound of the Seap. 634
A Nameless Gravep. 634
Keramosp. 635
Vittoria Colonnap. 646
The Revenge of Rain-in-the-Facep. 648
Naturep. 649
Eliot's Oakp. 650
The Poetsp. 650
The Harvest Moonp. 651
The Broken Oarp. 651
Haroun Al Raschidp. 652
Venicep. 652
The Three Silences of Molinosp. 653
The Chamber Over the Gatep. 654
Jugurthap. 655
Helen of Tyrep. 656
Elegiacp. 657
The Tide Rises, the Tide Fallsp. 658
My Cathedralp. 658
The Burial of the Poetp. 659
Nightp. 659
The Poet and His Songsp. 660
The Poet's Calendarp. 661
Autumn Withinp. 664
Victor and Vanquishedp. 665
Moonlightp. 665
Hermes Trismegistusp. 666
The Bells of San Blasp. 669
Mezzo Camminp. 671
The Cross of Snowp. 671
Dedicationp. 672
The Last Judgmentp. 672
"I turn for consolation to the leaves,"p. 675
Viterbop. 676
"How will men speak of me when I am gone,"p. 677
Monologuep. 678
In the Coliseump. 679
The Oaks of Monte Lucap. 683
The Dead Christp. 687
The Celestial Pilotp. 690
The Terrestrial Paradisep. 691
Beatricep. 692
The Good Shepherdp. 693
To-morrowp. 694
Santa Teresa's Book-Markp. 694
Let Me Go Warmp. 695
The Sea Hath Its Pearlsp. 696
Retributionp. 697
The Gravep. 697
Rondelp. 698
The Artistp. 699
To Vittoria Colonnap. 699
Dantep. 700
A Neapolitan Canzonetp. 700
Kavanagh, A Talep. 703
The Literary Spirit of Our Countryp. 791
Table-Talkp. 796
Address on the Death of Washington Irvingp. 800
Chronologyp. 805
Note on the Textsp. 816
Notesp. 824
Index of Titles and First Linesp. 850
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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