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Poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Moonlight


As a pale phantom with a lamp
  Ascends some ruin's haunted stair,
So glides the moon along the damp
  Mysterious chambers of the air. 

Now hidden in cloud, and now revealed,
  As if this phantom, full of pain,
Were by the crumbling walls concealed,
  And at the windows seen again. 

Until at last, serene and proud
  In all the splendor of her light,
She walks the terraces of cloud,
  Supreme as Empress of the Night. 

I look, but recognize no more
  Objects familiar to my view;
The very pathway to my door
  Is an enchanted avenue. 

All things are changed.  One mass of shade,
  The elm-trees drop their curtains down;
By palace, park, and colonnade
  I walk as in a foreign town. 

The very ground beneath my feet
  Is clothed with a diviner air;
White marble paves the silent street
  And glimmers in the empty square. 

Illusion!  Underneath there lies
  The common life of every day;
Only the spirit glorifies
  With its own tints the sober gray. 

In vain we look, in vain uplift
  Our eyes to heaven, if we are blind,
We see but what we have the gift
  Of seeing; what we bring we find.



Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's other poems:
  1. Thora of Rimol
  2. King Olafs War-Horns
  3. The Crew of the Long Serpent
  4. Einar Tamberskelver
  5. King Olafs Christmas


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