The Village Blacksmith
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807-1882
UNDER a spreading chestnut tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.
His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.
Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.
And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And watch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.
He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.
It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.
Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought!
Was the Village Blacksmith a real blacksmith or simply a literary creation of the poet? Read this interesting article about Elihu Burritt in the August-September 2002 issue of Anvil Magazine.
Article url: http://www.anvilmag.com/smith/209f2.htm
Blacksmith History, 1
An article written for the interested reader about the history and terminology of the craft of blacksmithing
Blacksmith History, 2
An article about the blacksmith's work in North America, from 1001 to the present, broken down by historical eras.
Blacksmith History, 3
The Ages of Technology--Stone, Bronze, Iron, (and Silicon?)
Blacksmiths in the Oil Patch
An article about the blacksmith's work in the early days of oil and gas drilling in Appalachia.
Antebellum Iron Works
A series about iron furnaces and iron making prior to the Civil War in the western counties of Virginia (now West Virginia.) Includes information on early wrought iron.
All About Nails
The history of nail making and a photo display of cut nails from a Victorian-style house built in 1900.
W. A. Young's Foundry and Machine Shop
Built in 1900 at Rice's Landing, PA, the shop serviced steamboats on the Monongahela River for over sixty years. The owners left the shop intact with tools and all when it closed. The restoration continues.