Verse > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow > Complete Poetical Works
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882).  Complete Poetical Works.  1893.
 
Ultima Thule
Poems.
From my Arm-Chair
 
        
To the Children of Cambridge
Who Presented to Me, on My Seventy-Second Birthday, February 27, 1879, This Chair Made from the Wood of the Village Blacksmith’s Chestnut Tree.

  Mr. Longfellow had this poem, which he wrote on the same day, printed on a sheet, and was accustomed to give a copy to each child who visited him and sat in the chair.

AM I a king, that I should call my own
    This splendid ebon throne?
Or by what reason, or what right divine,
    Can I proclaim it mine?
 
Only, perhaps, by right divine of song        5
    It may to me belong;
Only because the spreading chestnut tree
    Of old was sung by me.
 
Well I remember it in all its prime,
    When in the summer-time        10
The affluent foliage of its branches made
    A cavern of cool shade.
 
There, by the blacksmith’s forge, beside the street,
    Its blossoms white and sweet
Enticed the bees, until it seemed alive,        15
    And murmured like a hive.
 
And when the winds of autumn, with a shout,
    Tossed its great arms about,
The shining chestnuts, bursting from the sheath,
    Dropped to the ground beneath.        20
 
And now some fragments of its branches bare,
    Shaped as a stately chair,
Have by my hearthstone found a home at last,
    And whisper of the past.
 
The Danish king could not in all his pride        25
    Repel the ocean tide,
But, seated in this chair, I can in rhyme
    Roll back the tide of Time.
 
I see again, as one in vision sees,
    The blossoms and the bees,        30
And hear the children’s voices shout and call,
    And the brown chestnuts fall.
 
I see the smithy with its fires aglow,
    I hear the bellows blow,
And the shrill hammers on the anvil beat        35
    The iron white with heat!
 
And thus, dear children, have ye made for me
    This day a jubilee,
And to my more than threescore years and ten
    Brought back my youth again.        40
 
The heart hath its own memory, like the mind,
    And in it are enshrined
The precious keepsakes, into which is wrought
    The giver’s loving thought.
 
Only your love and your remembrance could        45
    Give life to this dead wood,
And make these branches, leafless now so long,
    Blossom again in song.
 
 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors