Poetry Friday: Poem #43, The Village Blacksmith by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1841

“Do you say you can’t endure poetry? What! not while you have the grand, heroic songs of Homer, the deep grandeur of Dante, the sublime majesty of Milton, the subtle, sympathetic humanity of Shakespeare, together with the sweet singing of America’s Longfellow, Whittier and Bryant?” ~Occupations for Women, 1897

'Blacksmith at Work - Colonial Williamsburg' photo (c) 2010, Derek Key - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/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.

'Civil War Blacksmith' photo (c) 2006, Anna - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/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 hard, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

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.

4 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Poem #43, The Village Blacksmith by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1841

  1. I think I had to memorize the first stanza of this way back in elementary school. the next to last stanza is vaguely familiar but I probably would not have connected it with this poem. Thanks for the memories!

  2. I’ve always loved blacksmiths. There is one I want to write a picture book about, one of these days.

    Nice poem. Thanks.

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