Home  »  Complete Poetical Works by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  »  I. Juvenile Poems. Song of the Birds

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


I. Juvenile Poems. Song of the Birds

WITH what a hollow dirge its voice did fill

The vast and empty hollow of the night!—

It had perched itself upon a tall old tree,

That hung its tufted and thick clustering leaves

Midway across the brook; and sung most sweetly,

In all the merry and heart-broken sadness

Of those that love hath crazed. Clearly it ran

Through all the delicate compass of its voice:—

And then again, as from a distant hollow,

I heard its sweet tones like an echo sounding,

And coming, like the memory of a friend

From a far distant country—or the silent land

Of the mourned and the dead, to which we all are passing;

It seemed the song of some poor broken heart,

Haunted forever with love’s cruel fancies!—

Of one that has loved much yet never known

The luxury of being loved again!

But when the morning broke, and the green woods

Were all alive with birds—with what a clear

And ravishing sweetness sung the plaintive thrush;

I love to hear its delicate rich voice,

Chanting through all the gloomy day, when loud

Amid the trees is dropping the big rain,

And gray mists wrap the hills;—for aye the sweeter

Its song is, when the day is sad and dark. And thus,

When the bright fountains of a woman’s love

Are gently running over, if a cloud

But darken, with its melancholy shadow,

The bright flowers round our way, her heart

Doth learn new sweetness, and her rich voice falls

With more delicious music on our ears.