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American poet and scholar
(1807 - 1882)
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Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
  Life is but an empty dream!
      - A Psalm of Life (st. 1) [Life]

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
  And out hearts, though stout and brave,
    Still, like muffled drums, are beating
      Funeral marches to the grave.
      - A Psalm of Life (st. 4) [Life : Proverbs]

Still achieving, still pursuing,
  Learn to labour and to wait.
      - A Psalm of Life (st. 9) [Patience : Proverbs]

All was silent as before--
  All silent save the dripping rain.
      - A Rainy Day [Silence]

The sun is set; and in his latest beams
  Yon little cloud of ashen gray and gold,
    Slowly upon the amber air unrolled,
      The falling mantle of the Prophet seems.
      - A Summer Day by the Sea [Twilight]

Even cities have their graves!
      - Amalfi (st. 6) [Cities]

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
  Behind the clouds the sun is shining;
    Thy fate is the common fate of all,
      Into each life some rain must fall,
        Some days must be dark and dreary.
      - An April Day [Rain]

I love the season well
  When forest glades are teeming with bright forms,
    Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell
      The coming of storms.
      - An April Day (st. 8) [April]

Sweet April! many a thought
  Is wedded unto thee, as hearts are wed;
    Nor shall they fail, till, to its autumn brought,
      Life's golden fruit is shed.
      - An April Day (st. 8) [April]

Peace! and no longer from its brazen portals
  The blast of War's great organ shakes the skies!
    But beautiful as songs of the immortals,
      The holy melodies of love arise.
      - Arsenal at Springfield [Peace]

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 harmonies?
      - Arsenal at Springfield (st. 8) [War]

O what a glory doth this world put on
  For him who, with a fervent heart, does forth
    Under the bright and glorious sky, and looks
      On duties well performed, and days well spent!
        For him the wind, ay, and the yellow leaves,
          Shall have a voice, and give him eloquent teachings.
      - Autumn (l. 30) [Nature : World]

Ah! vainest of all things
  Is the gratitude of kings.
      - Belisarius (st. 8) [Royalty]

For bells are the voice of the church;
  They have tones that touch and search
    The hearts of young and old.
      - Bells of San Blas [Bells]

Out of the shadows of night,
  The world rolls into light;
    It is daybreak everywhere.
      - Bells of San Blas [Day]

The heights by great men reached and kept
  Were not attained by sudden flight,
    But they, while their companions slept,
      Were toiling upward in the night.
      - Birds of Passage--The Ladder of St. Augustine
         (st. 10) [Labor]

I stood on the bridge at midnight,
  As the clocks were striking the hour,
    And the moon rose over the city,
      Behind the dark church tower.
      - Bridge [Midnight]

All are architects of Fate,
  Working in these walls of Time;
    Some with massive deeds and great,
      Some with ornaments of rhyme.
      - Builders (st. I) [Fate]

Ah, how skillful grows the hand
  That obeyeth Love's command!
    It is the heart and not the brain
      That to the highest doth attain,
        And he who followeth Love's behest
          Far excelleth all the rest.
      - Building of the Ship [Love]

Build me straight. O worthy Master!
  Staunch and strong, a goodly vessel
    That shall laugh at all disaster,
      And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!
      - Building of the Ship (l. 1) [Ships]

Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!
  Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
    Humanity with all its fears,
      With all the hopes of future years,
        Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
      - Building of the Ship (l. 367) [America]

Sail forth into the sea of life,
  O gentle, loving, trusting wife,
    And safe from all adversity
      Upon the bosom of that sea
        Thy comings and thy goings be!
          For gentleness and love and trust
            Prevail o'er angry wave and gust;
              And in the wreck of noble lives
                Something immortal still survives.
      - Building of the Ship (l. 368) [Wives]

There's not a ship that sails the ocean,
  But every climate, every soil,
    Must bring its tribute, great or small,
      And help to build the wooden wall!
      - Building of the Ship (l. 66) [Ships]

Shepherds at the grange,
  Where the Babe was born,
    Sang with many a change,
      Christmas carols until morn.
      - By the Fireside--A Christmas Carol (st. 3)

The sunshine fails, the shadows grow more dreary,
  And I am near to fall, infirm and weary.
      - Canzone [Age]

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