Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry III: From Tennyson to Whitman
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   English Poetry III: From Tennyson to Whitman.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
781. The Day is Done
 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)
 
 
THE DAY is done, and the darkness
  Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
  From an eagle in his flight.
 
I see the lights of the village        5
  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,        10
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,        15
  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.        20
 
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,        25
  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,        30
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        35
  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.        40
 
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.
 

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