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

The Seaside and the Fireside

By the Fireside. Hymn for my Brother’s Ordination

  • The brother was the Rev. Samuel Longfellow, the poet’s biographer. In his diary, February 8, 1848, Mr. Longfellow wrote: “S. returned from Portland. Read to him the chant I wrote for his ordination,—a midnight thought. He likes it, and will have it sung.”

  • CHRIST to the young man said: “Yet one thing more;

    If thou wouldst perfect be,

    Sell all thou hast and give it to the poor,

    And come and follow me!”

    Within this temple Christ again, unseen,

    Those sacred words hath said

    And his invisible hands to-day have been

    Laid on a young man’s head.

    And evermore beside him on his way

    The unseen Christ shall move,

    That he may lean upon his arm and say,

    “Dost thou, dear Lord, approve?”

    Beside him at the marriage feast shall be,

    To make the scene more fair;

    Beside him in the dark Gethsemane

    Of pain and midnight prayer.

    O holy trust! O endless sense of rest!

    Like the beloved John

    To lay his head upon the Saviour’s breast,

    And thus to journey on!