Study Guide

The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls Summary

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls Summary

This poem describes a seaside scene. The tide rises, and the tide falls. It's twilight, a bird is calling, and a traveler is leaving the shore, heading for a nearby town. Now it's dark, the sea is calling, and the waves erase the traveler's footprints from the shore. Despite this gloomy perspective, the dawn does come again. There are signs of life everywhere. Horses are ready and rearing to go; a hostler is calling out. Sure, the traveler will never return to the shore (because, you know, he's dead), but the tide rises again, and then… well, the tide falls.

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