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: Wachusett, the Mountain, Mass.
Wachusett
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892)
 
Monadnock from Wachuset

  I WOULD I were a painter, for the sake
    Of a sweet picture, and of her who led,
  A fitting guide, with reverential tread,
Into that mountain mystery. First a lake
  Tinted with sunset; next the wavy lines        5
    Of far receding hills; and yet more far
  Monadnock lifting from his night of pines
    His rosy forehead to the evening star.
Beside us, purple-zoned, Wachusett laid
His head against the West, whose warm light made        10
    His aureole; and o’er him, sharp and clear,
Like a shaft of lightning in mid-launching stayed,
  A single level cloud-line, shone upon
  By the fierce glances of the sunken sun,
    Menaced the darkness with its golden spear!        15
 
So twilight deepened round us. Still and black
The great woods climbed the mountain at our back;
And on their skirts, where yet the lingering day
On the shorn greenness of the clearing lay,
  The brown old farm-house like a bird’s-nest hung.        20
With home-life sounds the desert air was stirred:
The bleat of sheep along the hill we heard,
The bucket plashing in the cool, sweet well,
The pasture-bars that clattered as they fell;
Dogs barked, fowls fluttered, cattle lowed; the gate        25
Of the barnyard creaked beneath the merry weight
  Of sun-brown children, listening, while they swung,
    The welcome sound of supper-call to hear;
    And down the shadowy lane, in tinklings clear,
  The pastoral curfew of the cow-bell rung.        30
Thus soothed and pleased, our backward path we took,
  Praising the farmer’s home. He only spake,
  Looking into the sunset o’er the lake,
    Like one to whom the far-off is most near:
“Yes, most folks think it has a pleasant look;        35
  I love it for my good old mother’s sake,
    Who lived and died here in the peace of God!”
  The lesson of his words we pondered o’er,
As silently we turned the eastern flank
Of the mountain, where its shadow deepest sank,        40
Doubling the night along our rugged road:
We felt that man was more than his abode,—
  The inward life than Nature’s raiment more;
And the warm sky, the sundown-tinted hill,
  The forest and the lake, seemed dwarfed and dim        45
Before the saintly soul, whose human will
    Meekly in the Eternal footsteps trod,
Making her homely toil and household ways
An earthly echo of the song of praise
  Swelling from angel lips and harps of seraphim.        50
 
 
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