1807–1882

Introduction

portrait

Born: Feb­ru­a­ry 27, 1807, Port­land, Maine.

Died: March 24, 1882, Mount Au­burn Ce­me­te­ry, Cam­bridge, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

portrait
portrait

Poem

The Singers

God sent His singers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth;
That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to heaven again.

The first, a youth, with soul of fire,
Held in his hand a golden lyre;
Through groves he wandered and by streams,
Playing the music of our dreams.

The second, with a bearded face,
Stood singing in the market place;
And stirred with accents deep and loud,
The hearts of all the listening crowd.

A gray old man, the third and last,
Sang in cathedrals dim and vast;
While the majestic organ rolled,
Contrition from its mouths of gold.

And those who heard the singers three,
Disputed which the best might be;
For still their music seemed to start,
Discordant echoes from each heart—

Till the great Master said, I see
There is no best, but in degree:
I gave a various gift to each,
To charm, to strengthen and to teach.

These are the three great Chords of might,
And he whose ear is tuned aright,
Will hear no discord in the three,
But the most perfect harmony.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Seaside and the Fireside, 1849

Sources

Lyrics