No hay pajaros en los nidos de antano.
Spanish Proverb

The sun is bright,–the air is clear,
The darting swallows soar and sing.
And from the stately elms I hear
The bluebird prophesying Spring.

So blue you winding river flows,
It seems an outlet from the sky,
Where waiting till the west-wind blows,
The freighted clouds at anchor lie.

All things are new;–the buds, the leaves,
That gild the elm-tree’s nodding crest,
And even the nest beneath the eaves;–
There are no birds in last year’s nest!

All things rejoice in youth and love,
The fulness of their first delight!
And learn from the soft heavens above
The melting tenderness of night.

Maiden, that read’st this simple rhyme,
Enjoy thy youth, it will not stay;
Enjoy the fragrance of thy prime,
For oh, it is not always May!

Enjoy the Spring of Love and Youth,
To some good angel leave the rest;
For Time will teach thee soon the truth,
There are no birds in last year’s nest!

Analysis, meaning and summary of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem It is not Always May


  1. H.D.M. says:

    This poem rocks our socks off so much that we even used it in our educational school project. thanks! love you lots =]

  2. AnDrEw M. says:

    This poem is ok… Its for sure not my favorite, but what can i say… My birthday is in may, and this man is talking good about my month… Thats all i can say!!!

  3. Jean says:

    The Spanish proverb translated means “There are not birds in the nests of last year.” Probably a saying he heard when he was touring in Spain after his university years. It obviously stuck with him and he developed this poem which has a lot to say to the young people out there.

  4. Caitlin says:

    I enjoyed this poem. It had great imagery and made me feel good. Longfellow talks about how life is supposed to be nice and happy so live it up while you can before you have to leave everything behind when life moves on.

  5. Lauren says:

    I really liked this poem. The imagery is very good, you can picture whats happening in the poem. Longfellow is saying to live life to the fullest because things will not stay the way they are now. When he says there are no birds in last years nest, he is talking about how there is no life in the past. I really enjoy Longfellow’s poems and I want to read more.

  6. Emily says:

    This poem was really good i like the imagery it created it really made you think and remember what it is like in the spring. I think what Longfellow is trying to say it that time is never standing still it will always keep on going even if it is the best time. I thought this poems was really good and i look forward to reading some more of Longfellow’s poems.

  7. Nicole Morrow says:

    The poem begins out beautiful and happy. Towards the end it crushes your dreams that everything is always going to be right and good. He warns to enjoy your youth now while you still have the time. It makes him seem a little pessimistic, only looking at the bad stuff that coming this way, but he’s really saying to live life to the fullest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.