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


I. Juvenile Poems. Musings

I SAT by my window one night,

And watched how the stars grew high;

And the earth and skies were a splendid sight

To a sober and musing eye.

From heaven the silver moon shone down

With gentle and mellow ray,

And beneath the crowded roofs of the town

In broad light and shadow lay.

A glory was on the silent sea,

And mainland and island too,

Till a haze came over the lowland lea,

And shrouded that beautiful blue.

Bright in the moon the autumn wood

Its crimson scarf unrolled,

And the trees like a splendid army stood

In a panoply of gold!

I saw them waving their banners high,

As their crests to the night wind bowed,

And a distant sound on the air went by,

Like the whispering of a crowd.

Then I watched from my window how fast

The lights all around me fled,

As the wearied man to his slumber passed

And the sick one to his bed.

All faded save one, that burned

With distant and steady light;

But that, too, went out—and I turned

Where my own lamp within shone bright!

Thus, thought I, our joys must die,

Yes—the brightest from earth we win:

Till each turns away, with a sigh,

To the lamp that burns brightly within.