'Day is Done, The' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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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.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Day is Done: A Masterpiece of Lyric Poetry
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Day is Done" is a masterpiece of lyric poetry, captivating readers with its timeless beauty and profound insights. Written in 1860, this poem continues to inspire and delight readers with its powerful message about the fragility of life and the importance of cherishing each moment.
Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine in 1807 and went on to become one of America's most celebrated poets. He was a master of many forms of poetry, including ballads, sonnets, and lyric poetry, and his works often explored themes of love, nature, and the human condition.
"Day is Done" was written during a period of great turmoil in American history, just before the outbreak of the Civil War. Longfellow was deeply concerned about the future of his country and the fate of its people, and this poem reflects his sense of unease and uncertainty.
Structure and Form
The poem is written in four stanzas, each consisting of six lines. The rhyme scheme is ABCCBA, with the first and fourth lines rhyming with each other, and the second and fifth and the third and sixth lines rhyming with each other.
The poem is also characterized by its use of repetition, with the phrase "day is done" appearing at the beginning of each stanza. This repetition gives the poem a sense of structure and unity, as well as emphasizing its central theme of the passing of time.
At its core, "Day is Done" is a meditation on the transience of life and the need to appreciate each moment. The poem begins with the speaker watching the sun set and reflecting on the passing of another day. He then goes on to consider the fleeting nature of life itself, and the inevitability of death:
"All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.
Fading light, dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.
From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night."
As the day comes to a close, the speaker acknowledges that all things must come to an end, and that even the brightest stars will eventually fade away. However, he finds comfort in the idea that God is watching over us, and that there is a sense of peace and security in the knowledge that we are not alone.
In the second stanza, the speaker reflects on the passing of youth and the inevitability of aging. He observes that "Like the leaves on the trees,
Or the grasses in the meadows,
So the days of our lives are like passing dreams." This comparison between the fleeting nature of life and the changing seasons emphasizes the idea that nothing lasts forever, and that we must make the most of the time we have.
The third stanza continues this theme, with the speaker reflecting on the passing of love and the importance of cherishing the people we care about. He observes that "Love and life, and peace and strife,
Come alike to all.
The mingled dreams of good and ill,
To great and small." This recognition of the universality of human experience emphasizes the importance of empathy and understanding, and the need to cherish the people we love while we still have them.
The final stanza of the poem brings these themes together, with the speaker declaring that "Thanks for all the good we know,
Thanks for all the ill;
The love, the joy, the hate, the woe,
The strife, and the still." This acknowledgement of the full spectrum of human experience emphasizes the idea that life is a journey, with ups and downs, joys and sorrows, and that we must embrace it all if we are to truly appreciate the beauty and fragility of existence.
In conclusion, "Day is Done" is a masterpiece of lyric poetry that continues to captivate readers with its timeless beauty and profound insights. Through its use of repetition, imagery, and themes of transience, aging, and love, the poem emphasizes the importance of cherishing each moment and living life to the fullest. As we navigate the challenges of our own lives, we would do well to remember Longfellow's words, and to appreciate the beauty and fragility of existence.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry Day is Done: A Masterpiece by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of the most celebrated poets of the 19th century, wrote a beautiful poem titled "The Day is Done." This poem is a masterpiece that reflects on the beauty of life and the importance of cherishing every moment. In this analysis, we will explore the themes, structure, and literary devices used in this poem.
The poem begins with the speaker reflecting on the day that has passed. He describes the setting sun and the fading light, which symbolizes the end of the day. The speaker then goes on to describe the beauty of the night, with its stars and the moon shining bright. This contrast between light and dark sets the tone for the rest of the poem.
The first stanza of the poem sets the stage for the themes that will be explored throughout the rest of the poem. The speaker reflects on the beauty of nature and how it can bring peace to the soul. He describes the sound of the crickets and the rustling of the leaves, which create a sense of tranquility. The speaker then goes on to describe the beauty of the night sky, with its stars and the moon shining bright. This imagery creates a sense of wonder and awe, which is a recurring theme in the poem.
The second stanza of the poem explores the theme of the passing of time. The speaker reflects on how quickly time passes and how we must cherish every moment. He describes how the day has passed and how the night has come, which symbolizes the passing of time. The speaker then goes on to describe how quickly life passes, and how we must make the most of every moment. This theme of the passing of time is a common theme in Longfellow's poetry and is explored in many of his other works.
The third stanza of the poem explores the theme of death and the afterlife. The speaker reflects on how death is a natural part of life and how we must accept it. He describes how the dead are at peace and how they are reunited with their loved ones in the afterlife. This theme of death and the afterlife is a common theme in Longfellow's poetry and is explored in many of his other works.
The fourth stanza of the poem explores the theme of love and how it can bring peace to the soul. The speaker reflects on how love can bring comfort and how it can help us through difficult times. He describes how the love of a mother can bring peace to a child and how the love of a friend can bring comfort to the soul. This theme of love is a recurring theme in Longfellow's poetry and is explored in many of his other works.
The structure of the poem is simple and straightforward. It consists of four stanzas, each with six lines. The rhyme scheme is ABABCC, which creates a sense of rhythm and flow. The use of repetition and imagery creates a sense of unity and coherence throughout the poem.
Longfellow uses several literary devices in this poem to create a sense of depth and meaning. The use of imagery, repetition, and symbolism creates a sense of unity and coherence throughout the poem. The imagery of the setting sun and the night sky creates a sense of wonder and awe, while the repetition of the phrase "the day is done" creates a sense of finality and closure. The symbolism of the crickets and the rustling of the leaves creates a sense of tranquility and peace, while the symbolism of the afterlife creates a sense of hope and comfort.
In conclusion, "The Day is Done" is a masterpiece by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that explores the themes of nature, time, death, and love. The simple structure and use of literary devices create a sense of unity and coherence throughout the poem. Longfellow's use of imagery, repetition, and symbolism creates a sense of depth and meaning that resonates with readers to this day. This poem is a testament to Longfellow's skill as a poet and his ability to capture the beauty and complexity of life in his work.
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