Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > England
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV.  1876–79.
Rugby Chapel, November, 1857
Matthew Arnold (1822–1888)
(See full text.)

COLDLY, sadly descends
The autumn evening. The field
Strewn with its dank yellow drifts
Of withered leaves, and the elms,
Fade into dimness apace,        5
Silent;—hardly a shout
From a few boys late at their play!
The lights come out in the street,
In the school-room windows; but cold,
Solemn, unlighted, austere,        10
Through the gathering darkness, arise
The Chapel walls, in whose bound
Thou, my father! art laid.
There thou dost lie, in the gloom
Of the autumn evening. But ah!        15
That word gloom to my mind
Brings thee back in the light
Of thy radiant vigor again!
In the gloom of November we passed
Days not of gloom at thy side;        20
Seasons impaired not the ray
Of thine even cheerfulness clear.
Such thou wast; and I stand
In the autumn evening, and think
Of bygone autumns with thee.        25
Fifteen years have gone round
Since thou arosest to tread,
In the summer morning, the road
Of death, at a call unforeseen,
Sudden. For fifteen years,        30
We who till then in thy shade
Rested as under the boughs
Of a mighty oak, have endured
Sunshine and rain as we might,
Bare, unshaded, alone,        35
Lacking the shelter of thee.
O strong soul, by what shore
Tarriest thou now? For that force,
Surely, has not been left vain!
Somewhere, surely, afar,        40
In the sounding labor-house vast
Of being, is practised that strength,
Zealous, beneficent, firm!
Yes, in some far-shining sphere,
Conscious or not of the past,        45
Still thou performest the word
Of the Spirit in whom thou dost live,
Prompt, unwearied, as here!
Still thou upraisest with zeal
The humble good from the ground,        50
Sternly repressest the bad.
Still, like a trumpet, dost rouse
Those who with half-open eyes
Tread the border-land dim
’Twixt vice and virtue; reviv’st,        55
Succorest;—this was thy work,
This was thy life upon earth.
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