Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893.

Earlier Poems

An April Day

  • “These poems were written for the most part during my college life, and all of them before the age of nineteen. Some have found their way into schools, and seem to be successful. Others lead a vagabond and precarious existence in the corners of newspapers; or have changed their names and run away to seek their fortunes beyond the sea. I say, with the Bishop of Avranches on a similar occasion: ‘I cannot be displeased to see these children of mine, which I have neglected, and almost exposed, brought from their wanderings in lanes and alleys, and safely lodged, in order to go forth into the world together in a more decorous garb.’” This note was prefixed by Mr. Longfellow to the following group of poems when published in Voices of the Night. “The first five” of the following, Mr. Longfellow says elsewhere in a manuscript note, “were written during my last year in college, in No. 27 Maine Hall, whose windows looked out upon the pine groves to which allusion is made in L’Envoi.” In the appendix may be found a fuller collection of poems of this class.

  • WHEN the warm sun, that brings

    Seed-time and harvest, has returned again,

    ’T is sweet to visit the still wood, where springs

    The first flower of the plain.

    I love the season well,

    When forest glades are teeming with bright forms,

    Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell

    The coming-on of storms.

    From the earth’s loosened mould

    The sapling draws its sustenance, and thrives;

    Though stricken to the heart with winter’s cold,

    The drooping tree revives.

    The softly-warbled song

    Comes from the pleasant woods, and colored wings

    Glance quick in the bright sun, that moves along

    The forest openings.

    When the bright sunset fills

    The silver woods with light, the green slope throws

    Its shadows in the hollows of the hills,

    And wide the upland glows.

    And when the eve is born,

    In the blue lake the sky, o’er-reaching far,

    Is hollowed out, and the moon dips her horn,

    And twinkles many a star.

    Inverted in the tide

    Stand the gray rocks, and trembling shadows throw,

    And the fair trees look over, side by side,

    And see themselves below.

    Sweet April! many a thought

    Is wedded unto thee, as hearts are wed;

    Nor shall they fail, till, to its autumn brought,

    Life’s golden fruit is shed.