The Iron Pen

The Iron Pen

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Iron Pen


I thought this Pen would arise

From the casket where it lies–

Of itself would arise and write

My thanks and my surprise.


When you gave it me under the pines,

I dreamed these gems from the mines

Of Siberia, Ceylon, and Maine

Would glimmer as thoughts in the lines;


That this iron link from the chain

Of Bonnivard might retain

Some verse of the Poet who sang

Of the prisoner and his pain;


That this wood from the frigate’s mast

Might write me a rhyme at last,

As it used to write on the sky

The song of the sea and the blast.


But motionless as I wait,

Like a Bishop lying in state

Lies the Pen, with its mitre of gold,

And its jewels inviolate.


Then must I speak, and say

That the light of that summer day

In the garden under the pines

Shall not fade and pass away.


I shall see you standing there,

Caressed by the fragrant air,

With the shadow on your face,

And the sunshine on your hair.


I shall hear the sweet low tone

Of a voice before unknown,

Saying, “This is from me to you–

From me, and to you alone.”


And in words not idle and vain

I shall answer and thank you again

For the gift, and the grace of the gift,

O beautiful Helen of Maine!


And forever this gift will be

As a blessing from you to me,

As a drop of the dew of your youth

On the leaves of an aged tree.


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