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

The Belfry of Bruges and Other Poems

Sonnets. Mezzo Cammin

  • Written at Boppard on the Rhine, August 25, 1842, just before leaving for home.

  • HALF of my life is gone, and I have let

    The years slip from me and have not fulfilled

    The aspiration of my youth, to build

    Some tower of song with lofty parapet.

    Not indolence, nor pleasure, nor the fret

    Of restless passions that would not be stilled,

    But sorrow, and a care that almost killed,

    Kept me from what I may accomplish yet;

    Though, half-way up the hill, I see the Past

    Lying beneath me with its sounds and sights,—

    A city in the twilight dim and vast,

    With smoking roofs, soft bells, and gleaming lights,—

    And hear above me on the autumnal blast

    The cataract of Death far thundering from the heights.