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The Day is Done

From the Newark Evening Star, June 16, 1914. By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The day is done, and the darkness
    Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
    From an eagle’s 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 tonight I long to rest.

Read from some humble 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 rhymes 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.

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