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

The Belfry of Bruges and Other Poems

Songs. The Day is done

  • Written in the fall of 1844 as proem to The Waif, a small volume of poems selected by Mr. Longfellow and published at Christmas of that year.

  • THE DAY is done, and the darkness

    Falls from the wings of Night,

    As a feather is wafted downward

    From an eagle in his flight.

    I see the lights of the village

    Gleam through the rain and the mist,

    And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me

    That my soul cannot resist:

    A feeling of sadness and longing,

    That is not akin to pain,

    And resembles sorrow only

    As the mist resembles the rain.

    Come, read to me some poem,

    Some simple and heartfelt lay,

    That shall soothe this restless feeling,

    And banish the thoughts of day.

    Not from the grand old masters,

    Not from the bards sublime,

    Whose distant footsteps echo

    Through the corridors of Time.

    For, like strains of martial music,

    Their mighty thoughts suggest

    Life’s endless toil and endeavor;

    And to-night I long for rest.

    Read from some humbler poet,

    Whose songs gushed from his heart,

    As showers from the clouds of summer,

    Or tears from the eyelids start;

    Who, through long days of labor,

    And nights devoid of ease,

    Still heard in his soul the music

    Of wonderful melodies.

    Such songs have power to quiet

    The restless pulse of care,

    And come like the benediction

    That follows after prayer.

    Then read from the treasured volume

    The poem of thy choice,

    And lend to the rhyme of the poet

    The beauty of thy voice.

    And the night shall be filled with music,

    And the cares, that infest the day,

    Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,

    And as silently steal away.