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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Selected Works

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A Gleam of Sunshine

Additional Information
  • Year Published: 1866
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States of America
  • Source: Longfellow, H.W. (1866) The Complete Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Boston, Massachusetts: Ticknor & Fields
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 9.0
  • Word Count: 395

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This is the place.  Stand still, my steed,
   Let me review the scene,
And summon from the shadowy past
   The forms that once have been.

The past and present here unite
   Beneath time’s flowing tide,
Like footprints hidden by a brook,
   But seen on either side.

Here runs the highway to the town;
   There the green lane descends,
Through which I walked to church with thee,
   O gentlest of my friends!

The shadow of the linden-trees
   Lay moving on the grass;
Between them and the moving boughs,
   A shadow, thou didst pass.

Thy dress was like the lilies,
   And thy heart as pure as they:
One of God’s holy messengers
   Did walk with me that day.

I saw the branches of the trees
   Bend down thy touch to meet,
The clover-blossoms in the grass
   Rise up to kiss thy feet,

“Sleep, sleep today, tormenting cares,
   Of earth and folly born!”
Solemnly sang the village choir
   On that sweet Sabbath morn.

Through the closed blinds the golden sun
   Poured in a dusty beam,
Like the celestial ladder seen
   By Jacob in his dream.

And ever and anon, the wind,
   Sweet-scented with the hay,
Turned o’er the hymn-book’s fluttering leaves
  That on the window lay.

Long was the good man’s sermon,
   Yet it seemed not so to me;
For he spake of Ruth the beautiful,
   And still I thought of thee.

Long was the prayer he uttered,
   Yet it seemed not so to me;
For in my heart I prayed with him,
   And still I thought of thee.

But now, alas! The place seems changed;
   Thou art no longer here:
Part of the sunshine of the scene
   With thee did disappear.

Though thoughts, deep-rooted in my heart,
   Like pine-trees dark and high,
Subdue the light of noon, and breathe
   A low and ceaseless sigh;

This memory brightens o’er the past,
   As when the sun, concealed
Behind some cloud that near us hangs
   Shines on a distant field.