Birds of Passage: Flight The Third

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Author: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

III

The picture fades; as at a village fair
A showman’s views, dissolving into air,
Again appear transfigured on the screen,
So in my fancy this; and now once more,
In part transfigured, through the open door
Appears the selfsame scene.

Seated, I see the two again,
But not alone; they entertain
A little angel unaware,
With face as round as is the moon;
A royal guest with flaxen hair,
Who, throned upon his lofty chair,
Drums on the table with his spoon,
Then drops it careless on the floor,
To grasp at things unseen before.

Are these celestial manners? these
The ways that win, the arts that please?
Ah yes; consider well the guest,
And whatsoe’er he does seems best;
He ruleth by the right divine
Of helplessness, so lately born
In purple chambers of the morn,
As sovereign over thee and thine.
He speaketh not; and yet there lies
A conversation in his eyes;
The golden silence of the Greek,
The gravest wisdom of the wise,
Not spoken in language, but in looks
More legible than printed books,
As if he could but would not speak.
And now, O monarch absolute,
Thy power is put to proof; for, lo!
Resistless, fathomless, and slow,
The nurse comes rustling like the sea,
And pushes back thy chair and thee,
And so good night to King Canute.

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Chicago: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "III," Birds of Passage: Flight The Third, ed. Callaway, Morgan, Jr., 1962- in The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (New York: George E. Wood, 1850), Original Sources, accessed July 12, 2024, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CPNWDK2W4DL71GA.

MLA: Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. "III." Birds of Passage: Flight The Third, edited by Callaway, Morgan, Jr., 1962-, in The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, New York, George E. Wood, 1850, Original Sources. 12 Jul. 2024. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CPNWDK2W4DL71GA.

Harvard: Longfellow, HW, 'III' in Birds of Passage: Flight The Third, ed. . cited in 1850, The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, George E. Wood, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 12 July 2024, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CPNWDK2W4DL71GA.