Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Asia
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII.  1876–79.
 
India: Ganges, the River
The Hindoo Girl’s Song
Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802–1838)
 
          The Hindoo girls make a little boat out of a cocoanut shell, place a small lamp and flowers within it, and launch it on the Ganges. If it floats out of sight with its lamp still burning, the omen is prosperous; if it sinks, the love of which it questions is ill-fated.

FLOAT on, float on, my haunted bark,
  Above the midnight tide;
Bear softly o’er the waters dark
  The hopes that with thee glide.
 
Float on, float on; thy freight is flowers,        5
  And every flower reveals
The dreaming of my lonely hours,
  The hope my spirit feels.
 
Float on, float on; thy shining lamp,
  The light of love, is there;        10
If lost beneath the waters damp,
  That love must then despair.
 
Float on,—beneath the moonlight, float,
  The sacred billows o’er:
Ah, some kind spirit guards my boat,        15
  For it has gained the shore.
 
 
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