The Rainy Day

The Rainy Day

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

 Summary of The Rainy Day

  • Popularity of “The Rainy Day”: Written in five-lined stanzas, this short poem “The Rainy Day” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a popular American poet, is an interesting expression of the heart in verse. The poem first appeared in 1842. The uniqueness of the poem lies in its bewitching simplicity in that it hooks the readers into reading it before he knows the personal message of the poet.
  • “The Rainy Day” As a Representative of Mental Situation of the Poet: The poem opens with the poet saying that the day is not only cold but also dark and dreary. It is raining and the wind is blowing. The vineyard is shedding its leaves in the gusts of wind but for the poet, the day is dark and dreary exactly like his life. He is recalling his past and youthful period as his heart grows sad. Then he sees a silver lining as the sun shines through the clouds and sees that everybody has the same fate. Therefore, whenever disappointment dominates, there is always rain. The meanings become clear by the end that there are moments of sadness and gloom in everybody’s life but they pass away. On a personal level, it shows that the poet is undergoing a personal loss that is the death of his wife.
  • Major Themes in “The Rainy Day”: Disappointment, optimism, and memories are three major thematic strands of the poem. The poet observes the rainy day and thinks that there is gloom all around and even the vine is shedding its leaves in the gusts of wind. All the natural elements add to his sorrow. However, in this sorrow lies the silver lining as he sees the sun shining through the clouds. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Therefore, he recalls his youthful period and becomes gloomy but comes to the conclusion that it happens with everyone and that every heart must see the rain which points to his optimism.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “The Rainy Day”

literary devices are essential for poetic or prose writing. The analysis of these devices in the poem as given below shows this fact.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /i/ in “The vine still clings to the moldering wall”, /e/ in “But at every gust the dead leaves fall” and the sound of /a/ in “And the days are dark and dreary.”
  2. Alliteration: It is the use of successive consonant sounds in the initials of the successive words such as /s/ in “Be still, sad heart.”
  3. Apostrophe: The poem shows the use of apostrophe where the poet calls his heart saying, “Be still, sad heart!.” It is also the use of an exclamation.
  4. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /d/ in “The day is cold, and dark, and dreary”, /s/ in “Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;” and the sound of /f/ in “Thy fate is the common fate of all.”
  5. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. The poem shows the use of imagery such as “It rains, and the wind is never weary”, “My thoughts still cling to the moldering Past” and “Behind the clouds is the sun still shining.”
  6. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between the objects that are different. The poem has used the metaphors of the day as if it is a man and heart as if it is his friend.
  7. Personification: The poet has personified the day, the heart, wind, and thoughts as if they have life and emotions of their own.
  8. Polysyndeton: The poem shows the use of polysyndeton as this verse joins the words with the conjunction “and” such as “The day is cold, and dark, and dreary.”
  9. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from literal meanings. Here the day, the sun, and the wind are symbols of the poet’s inner feelings.

 Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “The Rainy Day”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows AABBA in each of its stanzas that lasts until the end.
  2. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There are three stanzas in this poem with each comprising five lines/verses.
  3. Repetition: The poem shows the use of repetition such as “dark and dreary.” It stresses upon it to make this thematic point prominent.

Quotes to be Used

These lines from “The Rainy Day” are relevant to use during a motivational speech advising the participants to shed off their disappointment.

Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.