Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
 
New England: Mount Hope, R. I.
Mount Hope
W. A. Croffut (1835–1915)
 
          Mount Hope, the highest headland in Rhode Island, was the ancient seat of Metacomet,—“King Philip,”—the indomitable chief of the Wampanoags. When, after a long and bloody war, he was conquered and killed at last, his wife—Queen Wootonekanusky—was dragged from her home on Mount Hope, and sold into slavery in Barbadoes.

    I STROLL through verdant fields to-day,
        Through waving woods and pastures sweet,
        To the red warrior’s ancient seat
    Where liquid voices of the bay
Babble in tropic tongues around its rocky feet.        5
 
    I put my lips to Philip’s spring;
        I sit in Philip’s granite chair;
        And thence I climb up, stair by stair,
    And stand where once the savage king
Stood and with eye of hawk cleft the blue round of air.        10
 
    On Narragansett’s sunny breast
        This necklace of fair islands shone,
        And Philip, muttering, “All my own!”
    Looked north and south and east and west,
And waved his sceptre from this alabaster throne.        15
 
    His beacon on Pocasset hill,
        Lighting the hero’s path to fame
        Whene’er the crafty Pequot came,
    Blazed as the windows of yon mill
Now blaze at set of sun with day’s expiring flame.        20
 
    Always, at midnight, from a cloud,
        An eagle swoops, and hovering nigh
        This peak, utters one piercing cry
    Of wrath and anguish, long and loud,
And plunges once again into the silent sky!        25
 
    The Wampanoags, long since dead,
        Who to these islands used to cling,
        Spake of this shrieking midnight thing
    With bated breath, and, shuddering, said,
“’T is angry Philip’s voice,—the spectre of the king!”        30
 
    All things are changed. Here Bristol sleeps
        And dreams within her emerald tent;
        Yonder are picnic tables bent
    Beneath their burden; up the steeps
The martial strains arise and songs of merriment.        35
 
    I pluck an aster on the crest;
        It is a child of one, I know,
        Plucked here two hundred years ago,
    And worn upon the slave-queen’s breast,—
O, that this blossom had a tongue to tell its woe!        40
 
 
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