The Arrow and the Song

Original Text: 
The Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, with Bibliographical and Critical Notes, Riverside Edition (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin, 1890), I, 234. PS 2250 E90 Robarts Library.
2It fell to earth, I knew not where;
3For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
4Could not follow it in its flight.
5I breathed a song into the air,
6It fell to earth, I knew not where;
7For who has sight so keen and strong,
8That it can follow the flight of song?
9Long, long afterward, in an oak
10I found the arrow, still unbroke;
11And the song, from beginning to end,
12I found again in the heart of a friend.


1] Longfellow wrote: "October 16, 1845. Before church, wrote The Arrow and the Song, which came into my mind as I stood with my back to the fire, and glanced on to the paper with arrow's speed. Literally an improvisation." (Editor, p. 234.) Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
The Belfry of Bruges (1845)
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.