The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.

I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me
That my soul cannot resist:

A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.

Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.

Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.

For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life’s endless toil and endeavor;
And to-night I long for rest.

Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;

Who, through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.

Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.

Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.

And the night shall be filled with music
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem The Day is Done

20 Comments

  1. Peter Kocsis says:

    As a structural engineer, I have written a variety of
    articles and two booklets on the subject of structural
    engineering. My hope is that long after I am gone my work will be remembered and used. My hope is that I will be among those “Whose distant footsteps echo
    Through the corridors of Time.” That one line captures
    my feelings better than anything I can say.
    -Peter Kocsis

  2. Dolores says:

    My Grade Three teacher read this to the class on more than a few occasions..that was a long time ago. I wonder if teachers still do those kinds of things…Wadsworth Longfellow in Grade Three..thankyou Mrs. Hellofs.

  3. imane says:

    i can’t understand this poem i have an exposer tomorrow and still can’t understand it sorry

  4. Sam says:

    This poem is good.

  5. Norm Jackson says:

    As a youngster growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba in the mid 1950’s, there was a local radio station that closed their broadcasting day with the first verse of this poignant peom. I has stayed with me all of these years and by chance came across the complete poem on this site. I could not state my feelings any better than the individual who posted the comments on October 10, 2004 @ 5:35

  6. Jennifer says:

    There is a wonderful piece of music set to Longfellows text. The song is called “And the Night Shall Be Filled With Music” by Greg Gilpin. Heritage Choral Series is the publisher.

  7. Todd says:

    How wonderful to come across this work of Longfellow after so many years. I memorized this for a drama class in 7th grade, and am glad for the reintroduction. It spoke soothingly to me then and now.

  8. britt says:

    I must say this poem is quite spectacular, I am only fifteen years of age and I read this poem for school out of my literatue text book, and it even though I might not have as many years of experience as everyone else commenting on this site I feel that this poem has definitely touched me in some sort of way. Anyone who thinks poety is a waste of time, should think about what they’re actually saying.

  9. laura says:

    I heard a stanza from this poem while watching a movie titled Last Chance. Both the words from the poem and the movie moved me. There was beauty in the words, and the way it which they was spoken by the actor. I look forward to reading the full poem in all its beauty.

  10. Melissa says:

    I really liked this poem. its so peaceful and serene it makes me want to lie down and rest. I can really relate also because i am really tired during the day and it feels so nice to snuggle in bed at the end of the day.

  11. Tiffany says:

    This poem touched me. At the beginging it was really sad but by the end i was shouting for joy. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow can really write poetry. He knows how to get the readers attention really well.

  12. hannah says:

    i am using this poem as a related text to inner journeys. I think this poem has real depth and it is fantastic to read.

  13. Rebecca says:

    As with everyone else I too love this poem. I love it becuase it is a poem for every man and woman. After a hard days work and lifes daily stress, when finally at home all you wish is for some peace and quiet. In Longfellows time it was the sweet voice of a loved one reading you a story or poem. Today we usually turn to music or T.V.
    My favorite stanza is ‘A sadness and a longing that’s not akin to pain. And resembles sorrow only as mist resembles rain’ I love the imagery of that simple line. The beauty of this poem is its simplicity.

  14. Michelle says:

    This poem means a lot. It was written with feeling, which is important, because it’s one to relate with. I really liked it.

  15. Reva says:

    I particularly love the term “the benediction that follows after prayer”. This, to me, is a desire for solitude devoid of the noise and tumult in your mind. When all is said that can be said then let the heart be at peace, leaving things that are out of your hands.

  16. JJ says:

    Longfellow might be one of “America’s greatest poets,” but this is the most pointless poem ever written.

  17. amanda says:

    i absolutely love this poem! i accidentally memorized it because i read it so often during an especially rainy spring a few years ago. it’s all good, though, because i still quote it to myself, especially when i turn in for the night.

    this poem has a very relaxing feeling to it. it does seem to have a sort of longing for more than just the rest you get at the end of the day–that feeling when you sink into bed and just get to forget about everything–and has a sort of longing for eternal rest. this would be a very intensified “sinking into bed and just forgetting about everything” feeling, i would imagine… plus the obvious excitement and contentment of having made it Home…

  18. Lexi says:

    I love the imagery in this poem, especially in the last stanza. The pictures that come to mind are vivid and very detailed. Longfellow doesn’t stop just at comparing two things, they become symbols of his longing for eternal rest.

  19. Tamara says:

    Ilove this poem. It suggests that heartfelt poetry is like a prayer which calms the soul. The beautiful sound of it drives one’s cares away.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I think this poem reflects Longfellow’s desire for rest in life, as in, death. I think he wanted peace, and the village he refered to is heaven. The “treasured volume” is The Bible, and he wanted to hear good news, and things about peace and heaven, instead of reading poems of his time period about the struggles and hardships of life. I think he was ready to leave life behind and move on to rest in peace.

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