Verse > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow > Complete Poetical Works
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882).  Complete Poetical Works.  1893.
 
In the Harbor
The Poet’s Calendar
 
JANUARY
JANUS am I; oldest of potentates;
  Forward I look, and backward, and below
I count, as god of avenues and gates,
  The years that through my portals come and go.
I block the roads, and drift the fields with snow;        5
  I chase the wild-fowl from the frozen fen;
My frosts congeal the rivers in their flow,
  My fires light up the hearths and hearts of men.
 
FEBRUARY
I am lustration; and the sea is mine!
  I wash the sands and headlands with my tide;        10
My brow is crowned with branches of the pine;
  Before my chariot-wheels the fishes glide.
By me all things unclean are purified,
  By me the souls of men washed white again;
E’en the unlovely tombs of those who died        15
  Without a dirge, I cleanse from every stain.
 
MARCH
I Martius am! Once first, and now the third!
  To lead the Year was my appointed place;
A mortal dispossessed me by a word,
  And set there Janus with the double face.        20
Hence I make war on all the human race;
  I shake the cities with my hurricanes;
I flood the rivers and their banks efface,
  And drown the farms and hamlets with my rains.
 
APRIL
I open wide the portals of the Spring
        25
  To welcome the procession of the flowers,
With their gay banners, and the birds that sing
  Their song of songs from their aerial towers.
I soften with my sunshine and my showers
  The heart of earth; with thoughts of love I glide        30
Into the hearts of men; and with the Hours
  Upon the Bull with wreathèd horns I ride.
 
MAY
Hark! The sea-faring wild-fowl loud proclaim
  My coming, and the swarming of the bees.
These are my heralds, and behold! my name        35
  Is written in blossoms on the hawthorn-trees.
I tell the mariner when to sail the seas;
  I waft o’er all the land from far away
The breath and bloom of the Hesperides,
  My birthplace. I am Maia. I am May.        40
 
JUNE
Mine is the Month of Roses; yes, and mine
  The Month of Marriages! All pleasant sights
And scents, the fragrance of the blossoming vine,
  The foliage of the valleys and the heights.
Mine are the longest days, the loveliest nights;        45
  The mower’s scythe makes music to my ear;
I am the mother of all dear delights;
  I am the fairest daughter of the year.
 
JULY
My emblem is the Lion, and I breathe
  The breath of Libyan deserts o’er the land;        50
My sickle as a sabre I unsheathe,
  And bent before me the pale harvests stand.
The lakes and rivers shrink at my command,
  And there is thirst and fever in the air;
The sky is changed to brass, the earth to sand;        55
  I am the Emperor whose name I bear.
 
AUGUST
The Emperor Octavian, called the August,
  I being his favorite, bestowed his name
Upon me, and I hold it still in trust,
  In memory of him and of his fame.        60
I am the Virgin, and my vestal flame
  Burns less intensely than the Lion’s rage;
Sheaves are my only garlands, and I claim
  The golden Harvests as my heritage.
 
SEPTEMBER
I bear the Scales, where hang in equipoise
        65
  The night and day; and when unto my lips
I put my trumpet, with its stress and noise
  Fly the white clouds like tattered sails of ships;
The tree-tops lash the air with sounding whips;
  Southward the clamorous sea-fowl wing their flight;        70
The hedges are all red with haws and hips,
  The Hunter’s Moon reigns empress of the night.
 
OCTOBER
My ornaments are fruits; my garments leaves,
  Woven like cloth of gold, and crimson dyed;
I do not boast the harvesting of sheaves,        75
  O’er orchards and o’er vineyards I preside.
Though on the frigid Scorpion I ride,
  The dreamy air is full, and overflows
With tender memories of the summer-tide,
  And mingled voices of the doves and crows.        80
 
NOVEMBER
The Centaur, Sagittarius, am I,
  Born of Ixion’s and the cloud’s embrace;
With sounding hoofs across the earth I fly,
  A steed Thessalian with a human face.
Sharp winds the arrows are with which I chase        85
  The leaves, half dead already with affright;
I shroud myself in gloom; and to the race
  Of mortals bring nor comfort nor delight.
 
DECEMBER
Riding upon the Goat, with snow-white hair,
  I come, the last of all. This crown of mine        90
Is of the holly; in my hand I bear
  The thyrsus, tipped with fragrant cones of pine.
I celebrate the birth of the Divine,
  And the return of the Saturnian reign;—
My songs are carols sung at every shrine,        95
  Proclaiming “Peace on earth, good will to men.”
 
 
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