Moonlight ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Moonlight ~

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

As a pale phantom with a lamp
Ascends some ruined 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 splendour 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 everyday;
Only the spirit glorifies
With its own tints the sober grey.

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.

6 thoughts on “Moonlight ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  1. I memorized a lot of poetry ‘back in the day’…and Henry was always one of my favorites. He had away with words! The moon…’the Empress of the night’. I like that!

  2. Lovely photo and poem.

    The very ground beneath my feet
    Is clothed with a diviner air;

    Isn’t that so very true, how the moonlight changes all on which it shines? Especially water.

    Illusion! Underneath there lies
    The common life of everyday;

    Ah, there I have to disagree. It can be no illusion, but a revealing of the true enchantment that’s always there. It’s “common life of everyday” that is the illusion, methinks.

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