Saturday, November 3, 2012

Classic Poetry ~ " Nature" By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

US Postage Stamp bearing the image of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882)

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, born in Portland, Maine in 1807, became a national literary figure by the time he was 40, and a world-famous personality before his death at 75. He was a traveler, a linguist, and a romantic who identified with European traditions in literature and thought, while remaining proud of American life and history. These dissonant characteristics spurred Longfellow to experiment with new-world themes and made him ambitious for international success. For more on this American treasure go to

Known more for lengthy sonnets, ballads and iambs, Longfellow occasionally wrote more concisely, as he did when he penned this brief and insightful sonnet, Nature.


As a fond mother, when the day is o'er,
  Leads by the hand her little child to bed,
  Half willing, half reluctant to be led,
  And leave his broken playthings on the floor,
Still gazing at them through the open door,
  Nor wholly reassured and comforted
  By promises of others in their stead,
  Which, though more splendid, may not please him more;
So Nature deals with us, and takes away
  Our playthings one by one, and by the hand
  Leads us to rest so gently, that we go
Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay,
  Being too full of sleep to understand
  How far the unknown transcends the what we know.


  1. We've abused the earth,
    so nature's taking revenge--

  2. Longfellow is always 'current.' I enjoyed this poem you shared, Kim. Nature definitely has its own ways...thinking of Sandy now, which so many just lived through.

  3. I heard this poem more gently. It reminded me of our elders each day closer to death but "not wholly reassured and comforted" as "one by one" they lose vision, a spouse, an outlived child, hearing, and dignity when no longer able to care for themselves. But mother nature does have her catastrophic fits as well, and better to not be in the same room with her.

  4. Wow, I had not heard of this poem, nor did I know he
    was from my home state~
    Thank you for sharing!
    This does make me think of all the storms
    and the way life is...


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