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

Birds of Passage

Flight the Third. Fata Morgana

  • Contained in the volume entitled Aftermath, 1873.

  • O SWEET illusions of Song,

    That tempt me everywhere,

    In the lonely fields, and the throng

    Of the crowded thoroughfare!

    I approach, and ye vanish away,

    I grasp you, and ye are gone;

    But ever by night and by day,

    The melody soundeth on.

    As the weary traveller sees

    In desert or prairie vast,

    Blue lakes, overhung with trees,

    That a pleasant shadow cast;

    Fair towns with turrets high,

    And shining roofs of gold,

    That vanish as he draws nigh,

    Like mists together rolled,—

    So I wander and wander along,

    And forever before me gleams

    The shining city of song,

    In the beautiful land of dreams.

    But when I would enter the gate

    Of that golden atmosphere,

    It is gone, and I wonder and wait

    For the vision to reappear.