Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(27 February 1807 – 24 March 1882 / Portland, Maine)

Beleaguered City, The - Poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I have read, in some old, marvellous tale,
Some legend strange and vague,
That a midnight host of spectres pale
Beleaguered the walls of Prague.

Beside the Moldau's rushing stream,
With the wan moon overhead,
There stood, as in an awful dream,
The army of the dead.

White as a sea-fog, landward bound,
The spectral camp was seen,
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,
The river flowed between.

No other voice nor sound was there,
No drum, nor sentry's pace;
The mist-like banners clasped the air,
As clouds with clouds embrace.

But when the old cathedral bell
Proclaimed the morning prayer,
The white pavilions rose and fell
On the alarmed air.

Down the broad valley fast and far
The troubled army fled;
Up rose the glorious morning star,
The ghastly host was dead.

I have read, in the marvellous heart of man,
That strange and mystic scroll,
That an army of phantoms vast and wan
Beleaguer the human soul.

Encamped beside Life's rushing stream,
In Fancy's misty light,
Gigantic shapes and shadows gleam
Portentous through the night.

Upon its midnight battle-ground
The spectral camp is seen,
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,
Flows the River of Life between.

No other voice nor sound is there,
In the army of the grave;
No other challenge breaks the air,
But the rushing of Life's wave.

And when the solemn and deep churchbell
Entreats the soul to pray,
The midnight phantoms feel the spell,
The shadows sweep away.

Down the broad Vale of Tears afar
The spectral camp is fled;
Faith shineth as a morning star,
Our ghastly fears are dead.


Comments about Beleaguered City, The by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  • Seamus O' Brian (12/11/2016 6:48:00 PM)


    Beautifully crafted work of art demonstrating so powerfully and vividly the deep need of mankind not to rely upon his own strength, but upon the grace and power accessed through faith. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Savita Tyagi (12/11/2016 6:04:00 PM)


    Beautiful poem. I read it again and again. Then again Henry Wadsworth is one of my favorite. (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (12/11/2016 10:46:00 AM)


    Great poetry from a legendary poet. Like to read again and again. (Report) Reply

  • Mizzy ........ (12/11/2016 4:52:00 AM)


    This is real poetry......pure genius (Report) Reply

  • Alexander Julian (12/11/2016 12:22:00 AM)


    Why are poems by amateur poets getting so much praise while classic poems are crumpled with poor ratings? I mean, it's not like anyone can just write this poem as quickly as possible: with enough ghost around, emotions can fly. The poem is beautiful by a long stretch of the imagination. (Report) Reply

  • (8/29/2015 8:54:00 PM)


    ....a most amazing poem....definitely one of his best...adding to my favorites ★ (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: fog, river, star, rose, faith, moon, city, dream, sea, life, light, night, fear



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002



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