Friday, April 8, 2011

Mezzo Cammin

Here is a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a nineteeth century romantic poet. This poem was written halfway through his scriptural allotment of 70 years. The title comes from the first line of Dante's Divine Comedy, it means, "midway through the journey." Lines one through four refer to the fact that he had not fulfilled his youthful aspirations of literary grandeur, (his works became famous towards the end of his life); lines five through eight refer to the fact that it was not his youthful flaws that kept him from his aspirations, but the sorrow that came with the death of his wife (line seven), lines nine through twelve refer to the fact that in mid-life, he can look back on the past, as "a city in the twilight dim and vast." lines thirteen and fourteen refer to the sound of death he hears in the future. This  poem inspires me not to let my past mistakes and past sorrows mar the brightness of the future.

                                              Mezzo Cammin.
              1. Half of my life is gone, and I have let
              2.     The years slip from me and have not fulfilled
              3.     The aspiration of my youth, to build
              4.     Some tower of song with lofty parapet.
              5. Not indolence, nor pleasure, nor the fret
              6.     Of restless passions that would not be stilled,
              7.     But sorrow, and a care that almost killed,
              8.     Kept me from what I may accomplish yet;
              9. Though, half-way up the hill, I see the Past
             10.     Lying beneath me with its sounds and sights, --
             11.     A city in the twilight dim and vast,
             12. With smoking roofs, soft bells, and gleaming lights, --
             13    And hear above me on the autumnal blast
             14    The cataract of Death far thundering from the heights.

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