Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate’er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter’s voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother’s voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his haul, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

Toiling,–rejoicing,–sorrowing,
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night’s repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem The Village Blacksmith

83 Comments

  1. Deb says:

    My mom remembered this poem and suggested we include it in the program for my dad’s funeral a couple weeks ago. A family member looked it up on the Internet. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as she read it aloud. It was like looking through the door of my dad’s blacksmith shop again…the brawny arms, the sweat on his brow…the loud ringing of the hammer on white hot metal as he sharpened plow lathes amidst the flying sparks. I was that little girl walking home from country school stopping by to get a chance to say “Hi” to dad as I went home. There’s so much of this poem that describes my dad….
    I was never any good at memorization, but I’m glad my mom had learned this poem in school. It’s sad that when their generation is gone, many of us will no longer realize such fantastic literature even exists.

  2. Nancy says:

    Iknow this sounds crazy, but, as comment 81 stated, i found this in a memory book my mother did for my daughter. She passed away in Feb. of this year and I also wish I could ask her why she liked it so much. I really enjoyed it, though.

  3. barbara says:

    I just found a memory book “To my Daugter With Love” in it my mother wrote the the Village Blacksmith was her favorite poem. I think that is a wonderful poem about living a good and honest life. My mom died a year ago, I wish she was here to tell me why she liked this poem so much.

  4. poyal says:

    when I was in grade 8. I memorised this poem in the year 1989. Thank you. choose this poem.

  5. hannah says:

    im in english just wasting time 🙂 i am supposed to be doing a biography on this dude, but he SUCKS. so im posting a comment

  6. STAR JEWEL says:

    This is NOT a chat room you idiots!!! Ohh….Im from here…….I’m from there. None of you idiots are related to him…..stupid!

  7. tom Kennedy says:

    The forging and farriery I’ve done has been good honest work. Reading The Village Blacksmith brough wetness to my eyes. I will take a copy with me tomorrow for folks to read while others try my forge and anvil. Thank you for having the peom available.

  8. Rachael Conner says:

    this poem was written about the village smithy from the small town i grew up in and live in now. its a beautiful peaceful place called Hiram on the Saco river in the foothills. I do believe i know the hill and the spot he is speaking of the smithy working. his grandfather settled this town and its widely roomer d that it was written here.

  9. Lyell Thompson says:

    I went to a one room country school, in Oklahoma, from 1932 to 1938; when in the 7th grade I memorized this poem.

  10. Joe says:

    This is an especially cool poem because not only is it beautiful, but it relates directly to his life because as a child, Longfellow loved to watch the Village Blacksmith work.

  11. Pastor Jack Riffe says:

    My father was a blacksmith, and it seems that I can hear him hammering away on some piece of steel as he fixes something for someone. Also, he taught me the trade when I was a young boy, and I still remember how to do it.
    Longfellow is my favorite poet of all time. I used to read his “Wreck of the Hesperies,” if that’s the way to spell it. It is a poem about a ship lost at sea. would love to find a copy of it.
    But The Village Blacksmith will remain a favorite for me. Thanks to all for the “Precious Memories.”

  12. nic says:

    memorized in 5th grad eand loved it. Everybody should have to memorize this poem. It’s a heart felt poem that hasn’t lost it’s power to time.

  13. Jan says:

    Hmmmmm! To bad. Never had to memorize this poem of the blacksmith. My teacher had us memorize the 19th Psalm in 5th grade. I love the poem. Tells of an honest, hardworking, family man who apparently is widowed and raising his family alone. I have a picture hanging in my hall that is somewhat like the poem. Too bad the man in the picture is sawing wood with a cross cut saw.

  14. Sherry Ames says:

    Great poem, of a hard working man with values. I memorized this poem in an elementary school in Roswell, New Mexico. Its a piece of art, I have never forgotten. Been some forty years ago. Thanks, Sherry

  15. Kevin O'Brien says:

    This particular poem seems to be the most moving works I have read by him. To the untrained eye, it seems he talks only of his friend, which he’s describing as a blacksmith, but in reality he is speaking of a person who does his job, loves their family, and is commited to religion. He talks of the average working American.

  16. chicken says:

    i loved the poem, it reminded me of a chicken just like you

  17. Vasanth Srinivasa says:

    H.W.Longfellow has long been one of my favourite poets. His style encompasses thought and rhyme to perfection. This poem in particular, has always impressed me, for its deep insight into human existence. I concur with the poet when he says that ” Something Attempted, Something done, has earned a night’s repose.” This line embodies the basic tenet of life, why we struggle in the world every day, for at the end of the day it is to acheive contentment, which translates into a night’s repose. A beautiful thought indeed!

  18. matt butler says:

    very touching………NOT!!

  19. Jack Billows says:

    deep

  20. Jim Kerbey says:

    Am I wrong, or shouldn’t the poem read ” . . . with his HARD, rough hand he wipes a tear out of his eyes.” The word “haul” doesn’t seem right.

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