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The Day is Done

The Day is Done

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Distant Footsteps

Symbol Analysis

Here the speaker imagines that he can hear the footsteps of poets from the past. We think this is a really cool image for the traditions of poetry. In a way, these "grand old masters" become like ghosts in the attic. You can hear them, far away, but you can't quite see them.

Line 19: We think the idea of the past is an important part of this poem, and this might be the most vivid image we get of history. In a kind of spooky way, the poets of the past come alive here and haunt the speaker. We're not surprised that he doesn't want to hear their poems, and he seems a little creeped out to imagine them out there, walking around.

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