The Belfry of Bruges and Other Poems

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J. Owen, 1846 - 151 pages
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Page 131 - THOUGH the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small ; Though with patience he stands waiting, with exactness grinds he all.
Page 25 - The tumult of each sacked and burning village; The shout that every prayer for mercy drowns; The soldiers' revels in the midst of pillage; The wail of famine in beleaguered towns; The bursting shell, the gateway wrenched asunder, The rattling musketry, the clashing blade; And ever and anon, in tones of thunder, The diapason of the cannonade. Is it, O man, with such discordant noises, With such accursed instruments as these, Thou drownest Nature's sweet and kindly voices, And jarrest the celestial...
Page 100 - All are scattered now and fled, Some are married, some are dead ; And when I ask. with throbs of pain, •' Ah ! when shall they all meet again ?" As in the days long since gone by, The ancient timepiece makes reply, — " Forever — never ! Never — forever !
Page 99 - His great fires up the chimney roared ; The stranger feasted at his board; But, like the skeleton at the feast. That warning timepiece never ceased, — "Forever — never ! Never — forever !" *> There groups of merry children played.
Page 40 - How beautiful is the rain ! After the dust and heat, In the broad and fiery street, In the narrow lane, How beautiful is the rain ! How it clatters along the roofs, Like the tramp of hoofs ! How it gushes and struggles out From the throat of the overflowing spout ! Across the window-pane It pours and pours ; And swift and wide, With a muddy tide, Like a river down the gutter roars The rain, the welcome rain...
Page 96 - Halfway up the stairs it stands, And points and beckons with its hands From its case of massive oak, Like a monk, who, under his cloak, Crosses himself, and sighs, alas ! With sorrowful voice to all who pass, — " Forever — never ! Never — forever...
Page 28 - Rise the blue Franconian mountains, Nuremberg the ancient stands. Quaint old town of toil and traffic, quaint old town of art and song, Memories haunt thy pointed gables, like the rooks that round them throng : Memories of the Middle Ages, when the emperors, rough and bold, Had their dwelling in thy castle, time-defying, centuries old ; And thy brave and thrifty burghers boasted, in their uncouth rhyme, That their great imperial city stretched its hand through every clime.
Page 42 - Near at hand, From under the sheltering trees, The farmer sees His pastures, and his fields of grain, As they bend their tops To the numberless beating drops Of the incessant rain.
Page 102 - I breathed a song into the air, It fell to earth, I knew not where ; For who has sight so keen and strong, That it can follow the flight of song ? Long, long afterward, in an oak I found the arrow, still unbroke ; And the song, from beginning to end, I found again in the heart of a friend.
Page 80 - 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.

About the author (1846)

During his lifetime, Longfellow enjoyed a popularity that few poets have ever known. This has made a purely literary assessment of his achievement difficult, since his verse has had an effect on so many levels of American culture and society. Certainly, some of his most popular poems are, when considered merely as artistic compositions, found wanting in serious ways: the confused imagery and sentimentality of "A Psalm of Life" (1839), the excessive didacticism of "Excelsior" (1841), the sentimentality of "The Village Blacksmith" (1839). Yet, when judged in terms of popular culture, these works are probably no worse and, in some respects, much better than their counterparts in our time. Longfellow was very successful in responding to the need felt by Americans of his time for a literature of their own, a retelling in verse of the stories and legends of these United States, especially New England. His three most popular narrative poems are thoroughly rooted in American soil. "Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie" (1847), an American idyll; "The Song of Hiawatha" (1855), the first genuinely native epic in American poetry; and "The Courtship of Miles Standish" (1858), a Puritan romance of Longfellow's own ancestors, John Alden and Priscilla Mullens. "Paul Revere's Ride," the best known of the "Tales of a Wayside Inn"(1863), is also intensely national. Then, there is a handful of intensely personal, melancholy poems that deal in very successful ways with those themes not commonly thought of as Longfellow's: sorrow, death, frustration, the pathetic drift of humanity's existence. Chief among these are "My Lost Youth" (1855), "Mezzo Cammin" (1842), "The Ropewalk" (1854), "The Jewish Cemetery at Newport" (1852), and, most remarkable in its artistic success, "The Cross of Snow," a heartfelt sonnet so personal in its expression of the poet's grief for his dead wife that it remained unpublished until after Longfellow's death. A professor of modern literature at Harvard College, Longfellow did much to educate the general reading public in the literatures of Europe by means of his many anthologies and translations, the most important of which was his masterful rendition in English of Dante's Divine Comedy (1865-67).

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