Friday, January 23, 2009

Poetry Friday - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

The Arrow and the Song
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I know not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I know not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

These words have been set to music many, many times, usually for solo voice and piano. Two better known composers that have written art songs with this text are Charles Gounod (who also wrote a setting of Ave Maria with Bach's C major Prelude, BWV 846, as the accompaniment) and New England's own Amy Beach.

Poetry Friday is being hosted today by Laura Purdie Salas. Check it out!


Yat-Yee said...

Love the poem. Don't actually remember when I first read it, but re-reading it today after so long, it still got me at the end.

It just begs to be set to music, doesn't it? So when do I get to hear yours?

Fiddler said...

I've been searching for a text to set to choral music. I'll play around with this one and keep you apprised. : )

Yat-Yee said...

Excellent! I'll be waiting (in case you work better when someone else is breathing down your neck.)

Kelly Fineman said...

I've only ever heard the first stanza, and I'm certain I didn't realize it was part of a poem, or that it was Longfellow!

Fiddler said...

Yat-Yee, you must have read my comment at 7-Imp. Guess when I reviewed all those astronomy books? The night before they were due back at the library (having been renewed the maximum amount of time).

Kelly--thanks for stopping by!

Author Amok said...

Great minds think alike -- I posted this poem last week!

Another musical rendition is by Ted Jacobs. I think it's through the Music for Little People company. The CD is called "Songs of the American Poets" and also has a wonderful Emily Dickinson poem set to song, Poe and others.

Fiddler said...

Laura, thanks for the heads up--I'll look for the cd. It sounds like something I'd love!