Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
New England: Housatonic, the River
Bennett’s Bridge
Joseph H. Nichols
THOU beautiful, romantic dell!
Thy banks of hemlock highlands swell,
Like huge sea billows, o’er the isles
Round which the branching river smiles.
Look up! how sombre and how vast        5
The shadows those dark mountains cast,
Making noon twilight; or look down
The giddy depths, so steep and brown,
Where claret waters foam and play
A tinkling tune, then dance away.        10
Oft, with my oak-leaf basket green,
On summer holidays serene,
Along your hillsides have I strayed,
And on the ground, all scarlet made,
Picked in full stems, as low I kneeled,        15
Strawberries, rubies of the field,
Coming late home; or in the flood
Cooled the warm current of my blood,
While swam the house-dog after me,
With long red tongue lapt out in glee.        20
’T is glorious, here, at breaking day,
To watch the orient clouds of gray
Blush crimson, as the yellow sun
Walks up to take his purple throne,
And melts to snowy mists the dew        25
That kissed, all night, each blossom’s hue,
Till, like a tumbling ocean spread,
They hide low vale and tall cliff’s head,
And many a tree’s fantastic form
Looks like some tossed ship in a storm.        30
How still the scene! yet here war’s hum
Once echoed wildly from the drum,
When waved the lily flower’s gay bloom
O’er glittering troops with sword and plume,
Who, on the clover meadows round,        35
Their white tents pitched, while music’s sound,
From horn and cymbal, played some strain
That oft had charmed the banks of Seine,
And village girls came down to dance
At evening with the youths of France.        40
Fair was the hour, secluded dell!
When last I taught my listening shell
Sweet notes of thee. The bright moon shone,
As on the shore I mused alone,
And frosted rocks, and streams, and tree,        45
With rays that beamed like eyes on me.
A silver robe the mountain’s hung,
A silver song the waters sung,
And many a pine was heard to quiver
Along my own blue flowing river.        50

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