Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday: Longfelllow

Longfellow on Age:
Longfellow was revered in his life and after. It is hard to imagine him only 12 years older than Walt Whitman. His mythic tones, classical allusions and measured rhythms were a long way from Walt Whitman's "body electric."   
This is from his "Morituri Salutamus: Poem for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Class of 1825 in Bowdoin College," written in Longfellow's last decade and delivered to his alma mater, as Ulysses to his boatmen:
    What then? Shall we sit idly down and say
    The night hath come; it is no longer day?
    The night hath not yet come; we are not quite
    Cut off from labor by the failing light;
    Something remains for us to do or dare;
    Even the oldest tree some fruit may bear;
    Not Oedipus Coloneus, or Greek Ode,
    Or tales of pilgrims that one morning rode
    Out of the gateway of the Tabard Inn,
    But other something, would we but begin;
    For age is opportunity no less
    Than youth itself, though in another dress,
    And as the evening twilight fades away
    The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.

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