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

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L’Envoi. The Poet and his Songs

AS the birds come in the Spring,

We know not from where;

As the stars come at evening

From depths of the air;

As the rain comes from the cloud,

And the brook from the ground;

As suddenly, low or loud,

Out of silence a sound;

As the grape comes to the vine,

The fruit to the tree;

As the wind comes to the pine,

And the tide to the sea;

As come the white sails of ships

O’er the ocean’s verge;

As comes the smile to the lips,

The foam to the surge;

So come to the Poet his songs,

All hitherward blown

From the misty realm, that belongs

To the vast Unknown.

His, and not his, are the lays

He sings; and their fame

Is his, and not his; and the praise

And the pride of a name.

For voices pursue him by day,

And haunt him by night,

And he listens, and needs must obey,

When the Angel says, “Write!”