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By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The night is come, but not too soon;

  And sinking silently,

All silently, the little moon

  Drops down behind the sky.

There is no light in earth or heaven

  But the cold light of stars;

And the first watch of night is given

  To the red planet Mars. 

Is it the tender star of love?

  The star of love and dreams?

O no! from that blue tent above,

  A hero’s armor gleams. 

And earnest thoughts within me rise,

  When I behold afar,

Suspended in the evening skies,

  The shield of that red star. 

O star of strength! I see thee stand

  And smile upon my pain;

Thou beckonest with thy mailèd hand,

  And I am strong again. 

Within my breast there is no light

  But the cold light of stars;

I give the first watch of the night

  To the red planet Mars. 

The star of the unconquered will,

  He rises in my breast,

Serene, and resolute, and still,

  And calm, and self-possessed. 

And thou, too, whosoe’er thou art,

  That readest this brief psalm,

As one by one thy hopes depart,

  Be resolute and calm. 

O fear not in a world like this,

  And thou shalt know erelong,

Know how sublime a thing it is

  To suffer and be strong.

Poet Bio

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Born in Portland, Maine, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow displayed an interest in linguistics at an early age, eventually teaching modern languages at Harvard. His idealistic poetry struck a chord with a young country sharply divided over slavery. Poems such as the narrative Evangeline and “Paul Revere’s Ride” made Longfellow the most popular 19th-century American poet. See More By This Poet

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