Longfellow wrote "The Day is Done" in 1844 and included it as the proem to his anthology The Waif, a selection of sentimental poems mostly about nature that came out at the end of 1844. Some of the poets included were Percy Shelley, Robert Browning, and Andrew Marvell. The following year a sequel, The Estray, was published.
Edgar Allen Poe famously attacked Longfellow for this anthology, accusing the book of having a "moral taint" and the poet himself of reeking of "imitation." He lambasted Longfellow by stating "there does appear in the little volume very careful avoidance of all American poets who may be supposed especially to interfere with the claims of Mr. Longfellow." Unsurprisingly, Poe had not been included. Longfellow refused to publicly respond, while his supporters angrily took to their pens to denounce Poe.