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The Day is Done by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Like many of us, Longfellow was the witness of much loss throughout his life. He took the loss of his first wife extremely hard and why shouldn't he? Throughout many of his poems written around this time, they are about this loss. However, this poem is slightly different in that it is about healing. He speaks of how the loss greatly hurt him but now the healing process should begin.

"The Day is Done" contains eleven stanzas that have four lines each for a total of 54 lines. Each stanza contains the rhyme scheme ABCB. The rhyme scheme along with having relatively the same length of syllables in each line gives Longfellow a simple rhythm while also keeping the reader on the edge of his seat.


The Day is Done

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.

Published in The Belfry of Bruges and Other Poems in 1845.

Next: The Fire of Drift-wood
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