Mezzo Cammin

Original Text: 
The Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, with Bibliographical and Critical Notes, Riverside Edition (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin, 1890), I, 234-35.
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.
5Not indolence, nor pleasure, nor the fret
6    Of restless passions that would not be stilled,
8    Kept me from what I may accomplish yet;
9Though, 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,
12With 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.


1] The title means "midway through the journey" and comes from the first line of Dante's Divine Comedy: "Nel mezzo delcammin di nostra vita." Longfellow was 35 when he wrote this poem, halfway through the scriptural lifespan of 70 years. Back to Line
7] possibly the death of Longfellow's first wife in 1835. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
In The Belfry of Bruges
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.