Home  »  A Dictionary of Similes  »  Henry W. Longfellow

Frank J. Wilstach, comp. A Dictionary of Similes. 1916.

Henry W. Longfellow

Ample as the wants of man.

Arise like Farianata from his fiery tomb.

Spelling it backward, like a Hebrew book.

Beautiful as May.

Beautiful as morning.

Bends and sinks like a column of sand
In the whirlwind of his great despair.

Bending like a wand of willow.

Bent and trembled like the rushes.

Thou hast betrayed thy secret as a bird betrays her nest, by striving to conceal it.

Bewailing and tolling within like a funeral bell.

Bitter as home-brewed ale.

Blank as the eyeballs of the dead.

Bleak and bare
Like furnace-chimneys in the air.

Like the soft aromatic gales
That meet the mariner, who sails
Through the Moluccas, and the seas
That wash the shores of Celebes.

Blue were her eyes as fairy-flax.

Blurted it out like a school-boy.

Like an antelope he bounded.

Brightened as in sunshine gleam the ripples
That the cold wind makes in rivers.

Brown as nut.

Cheeks like the dawn of day.

Clear as running waters are.

The hooded clouds, like friars,
Tell their beads in drops of rain.

As the birds come in the Spring,
We know not from where;
As the stars come at evening
From depths of the air;

As the rain comes from the cloud,
And the brook from the ground;
As suddenly, low or loud,
Out of silence a sound;

As the grape comes to the vine,
The fruit to the tree;
As the wind comes to the pine,
And the tide to the sea;

As come the white sails of ships
O’er the ocean’s verge;
As comes the smile to the lips,
The foam to the surge;

So come to the Poet his songs,
All hitherward blown
From the misty realm, that belongs
To the vast Unknown.

Crimson, as if blood were mingled in it.

Some critics are like chimney-sweepers; they put out the fire below, and frighten the swallows from the nests above; they scrape a long time in the chimney, cover themselves with soot, and bring nothing away but a bag of cinders, and then sing out from the top of the house, as if they had built it.

A young critic is like a boy with a gun; he often fires at every living thing he sees; he thinks only of his own skill, not of the pain he is giving.

Crouched … like a wild beast in his lair.

Crying, like a wretched Shangodaya.

Danced in his eyes, as the sunbeams dance on the waves of the sea.

Darkness like the day of doom.

Dart like swallows.

Lies dead,
As a corse on the sea-shore, whose spirit has fled.

Dim and sweet as moonlight in a solitary street.

From heaven down-cast
Like red leaves he swept away.

Wafted downward, like the painted leaves of Autumn.

The snows are driven and drifted,
Like Tithonus’ beard
Streaming dishevelled and white.

Drift as wrecks on the tide.

Drink … as wells drink in November, when it rains.

O lovely eyes of azure,
Clear as the waters of a brook that run
Limpid and laughing in the summer sun!

I dislike an eye that twinkles like a star. Those only are beautiful which, like the planets, have a steady, lambent light—are luminous, but not sparkling.

Eyes dilated, as if the spirit-world were open before him, and some beauteous vision were standing there.

As shadows passing into deeper shade.

Faded slowly from the sight as blushes from the cheek.

Fell, like a flail on the garnered grain.

Flare like torches.

Flashed like a falchion from its sheath.

Floats like an atmosphere.

Sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

Shall fold their tents like the Arabs and as silently steal away.

Like a river, frozen and star-lit, gleamed his coat of mail.

Gleamed like a grate of brass.

Gleamed on the hillside like a patch of snow.

Glistened like the dews of morn.

Glistened like the sun in water.

Gone was every trace of sorrow,
As the fog from off the river,
As the mist from off the meadow.

Good as bread.

Gray, like a shield embossed in silver.

Our hopes, like withered leaves, fall fast.

Humming like a hornet.

Jargoning like a foreigner at his food.

A lamentation,
Like some old prophet wailing.

A quiet smile played around his lips,
As the eddies and dimples of the tide play round the bows of ships.

Looms in the distant landscape of the Past,
Like a burnt tower upon a blackened heath.

Great men stand like solitary towers!

Mantle like a flame of fire.

Moan, like the voice of one who crieth
In the wilderness alone.

Mope like birds that are changing feather.

Their forms and features multiplied,
As the reflection of a light
Between two burnished mirrors gleams,
Or lamps upon a bridge at night
Stretch on and on before the sight,
Till the long vista endless seems.

Murmur as of waves upon a seashore.

Murmur like the rustle of dead leaves.

He sits muttering in his beard. His voice
Is like a river flowing underground.

Nodded in bright array, like hollyhocks heavy with blossoms.

Old as Priam.

Like a snow-covered pine in the vast
Dim forests of Orkadale.

Painted like the leaves of Autumn.

Painted like the sky of morning.

Like the birch-leaf palpitated.

Passed like the mournful cry of sunward sailing cranes.

When she had passed, it seemed like the ceasing of exquisite music.

Piled … like sacks of wheat in a granary.

Pliant as a wand of willow.

Pressed in my heart, like flowers within a book.

Quiet as a heart that beats no more.

Quiet as the tranquil sky.

Recoiled from its purpose, as from the verge of a crag.

Resounding, like the blast of funeral trumpets.

Through the driving mists revealed,
Like the lifting of the Host, by incense-cloud almost concealed.

Rising like the ruined arch of some aerial aqueduct.

Roars like a flame that is fanned.

Rushed like a man insane.

Rushed as a wind that is keen and cold and relentless.

Like prisoners from the dungeon’s gloom,
Like birds escaping from the snare,
Like schoolboys at the hour of play,
All left at once the pent-up room,
And rushed into the open air.

The dead laurels of the dead
Rustle for a moment only,
Like withered leaves in lonely
Churchyards as some passing tread.

Scattering drops like beads of wampum.

Scattered were they, like flakes of snow.

Scattered wide
Like silt and seaweed by the force and fluctuations of the tide.

The glory of the morn is shed, like a celestial benison.

Shine as immortal poems.

Shook like windy weeds.

Sifted like great snowdrifts o’er the landscape.

Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

Soft and still, like birds half hidden in a nest.

Spotless as lilies.

Stood like the Law and Gospel, one with the sanction of earth and one with the blessing of heaven.

Start as flames from ashes.

Stately as a deer with antlers.

Strong as iron bands.

Struggled together like foes in a burning city.

Sudden sound as of a bowstring snapped in air.

Sunday is like a stile between the fields and toil, where we can kneel and pray, or sit and meditate.

Your supper is like the Hidalgo’s dinner; very little meat, and a great deal of tablecloth.

Swart as the night.

Sweet was her breath as the breath of kine that feed in the meadows.

Swift as a flash.

Swing like the compass in its brazen ring.

Tender as a summer night.

Trembling like a steed before the start.

Like Dian’s kiss, unasked, unsought
Love gives itself, but is not bought.

Unfolding, like the tree-tops of the forest, ever rising, rising.

Upstarting wild and haggard,
Like a man from dreams awakened.

A vague presentment of impending doom,
Like ghostly footsteps in a vacant room.

Vague surmise
Shines in the father’s gentle eyes,
As firelight on a window-pane
Glimmers and vanishes away.

Vanished like a fleet of cloud, like a passing trumpet-blast, are those splendors of the past.

Waited with a frown,
Like some old champion of romance,
Who, having thrown his gauntlet down,
Expectant leans upon his lance.

Waste like a wilderness.

Waving like a hand that beckons.

Whimpered like a woman.

Whirled it round him like a rattler.

White as a cloud that floats and fades in the air.

White as a schoolboy’s paper kite.

White as seas’ fog.

White as the gleam of a receding sail.

Wild and woful, like the cloud rack of a tempest.