Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. VI–VIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 1835–1860
 
Rain in Summer
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)
 
[From Poetical Works. 1887.]

HOW beautiful is the rain!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain!        5
 
How it clatters along the roofs,
Like the tramp of hoofs!
How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the overflowing spout!
 
Across the window-pane        10
It pours and pours;
And swift and wide,
With a muddy tide,
Like a river down the gutter roars
The rain, the welcome rain!        15
 
The sick man from his chamber looks
At the twisted brooks;
He can feel the cool
Breath of each little pool;
His fevered brain        20
Grows calm again,
And he breathes a blessing on the rain.
 
From the neighboring school
Come the boys,
With more than their wonted noise        25
And commotion;
And down the wet streets
Sail their mimic fleets,
Till the treacherous pool
Ingulfs them in its whirling        30
And turbulent ocean.
 
In the country, on every side,
Where far and wide,
Like a leopard’s tawny and spotted hide,
Stretches the plain,        35
To the dry grass and the drier grain
How welcome is the rain!
 
In the furrowed land
The toilsome and patient oxen stand;
Lifting the yoke-encumbered head,        40
With their dilated nostrils spread,
They silently inhale
The clover-scented gale,
And the vapors that arise
From the well-watered and smoking soil.        45
For this rest in the furrow after toil
Their large and lustrous eyes
Seem to thank the Lord,
More than man’s spoken word.
 
Near at hand,        50
From under the sheltering trees,
The farmer sees
His pastures, and his fields of grain,
As they bend their tops
To the numberless beating drops        55
Of the incessant rain.
He counts it as no sin
That he sees therein
Only his own thrift and gain.
 
These, and far more than these,        60
The Poet sees!
He can behold
Aquarius old
Walking the fenceless fields of air;
And from each ample fold        65
Of the clouds about him rolled
Scattering everywhere
The showery rain,
As the farmer scatters his grain.
 
He can behold        70
Things manifold
That have not yet been wholly told,—
Have not been wholly sung nor said.
For his thought, that never stops,
Follows the water-drops        75
Down to the graves of the dead,
Down through chasms and gulfs profound,
To the dreary fountain-head
Of lakes and rivers under ground;
And sees them, when the rain is done,        80
On the bridge of colors seven
Climbing up once more to heaven,
Opposite the setting sun.
 
Thus the Seer,
With vision clear,        85
Sees forms appear and disappear,
In the perpetual round of strange,
Mysterious change
From birth to death, from death to birth,
From earth to heaven, from heaven to earth;        90
Till glimpses more sublime
Of things, unseen before,
Unto his wondering eyes reveal
The Universe, as an immeasurable wheel
Turning forevermore        95
In the rapid and rushing river of Time.

  1845.
 
 
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