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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Rain in Summer

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)

[From Poetical Works. 1887.]

HOW beautiful is the rain!

After the dust and heat,

In the broad and fiery street,

In the narrow lane,

How beautiful is the rain!

How it clatters along the roofs,

Like the tramp of hoofs!

How it gushes and struggles out

From the throat of the overflowing spout!

Across the window-pane

It pours and pours;

And swift and wide,

With a muddy tide,

Like a river down the gutter roars

The rain, the welcome rain!

The sick man from his chamber looks

At the twisted brooks;

He can feel the cool

Breath of each little pool;

His fevered brain

Grows calm again,

And he breathes a blessing on the rain.

From the neighboring school

Come the boys,

With more than their wonted noise

And commotion;

And down the wet streets

Sail their mimic fleets,

Till the treacherous pool

Ingulfs them in its whirling

And turbulent ocean.

In the country, on every side,

Where far and wide,

Like a leopard’s tawny and spotted hide,

Stretches the plain,

To the dry grass and the drier grain

How welcome is the rain!

In the furrowed land

The toilsome and patient oxen stand;

Lifting the yoke-encumbered head,

With their dilated nostrils spread,

They silently inhale

The clover-scented gale,

And the vapors that arise

From the well-watered and smoking soil.

For this rest in the furrow after toil

Their large and lustrous eyes

Seem to thank the Lord,

More than man’s spoken word.

Near at hand,

From under the sheltering trees,

The farmer sees

His pastures, and his fields of grain,

As they bend their tops

To the numberless beating drops

Of the incessant rain.

He counts it as no sin

That he sees therein

Only his own thrift and gain.

These, and far more than these,

The Poet sees!

He can behold

Aquarius old

Walking the fenceless fields of air;

And from each ample fold

Of the clouds about him rolled

Scattering everywhere

The showery rain,

As the farmer scatters his grain.

He can behold

Things manifold

That have not yet been wholly told,—

Have not been wholly sung nor said.

For his thought, that never stops,

Follows the water-drops

Down to the graves of the dead,

Down through chasms and gulfs profound,

To the dreary fountain-head

Of lakes and rivers under ground;

And sees them, when the rain is done,

On the bridge of colors seven

Climbing up once more to heaven,

Opposite the setting sun.

Thus the Seer,

With vision clear,

Sees forms appear and disappear,

In the perpetual round of strange,

Mysterious change

From birth to death, from death to birth,

From earth to heaven, from heaven to earth;

Till glimpses more sublime

Of things, unseen before,

Unto his wondering eyes reveal

The Universe, as an immeasurable wheel

Turning forevermore

In the rapid and rushing river of Time.