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.
 
Middle States: Shelter Island, N. Y.
My Native Isle
Mary Gardiner Horsford (1824–1855)
 
MY native isle! my native isle!
  Forever round thy sunny steep
The low waves curl, with sparkling foam,
  And solemn murmurs deep;
While o’er the surging waters blue        5
  The ceaseless breezes throng,
And in the grand old woods awake
  An everlasting song.
 
The sordid strife and petty cares
  That crowd the city’s street,        10
The rush, the race, the storm of Life,
  Upon thee never meet;
But quiet and contented hearts
  Their daily tasks fulfil,
And meet with simple hope and trust        15
  The coming good or ill.
 
The spireless church stands, plain and brown,
  The winding road beside;
The green graves rise in silence near,
  With moss-grown tablets wide;        20
And early on the Sabbath morn,
  Along the flowery sod,
Unfettered souls, with humble prayer,
  Go up to worship God.
 
And dearer far than sculptured fane        25
  Is that gray church to me,
For in its shade my mother sleeps,
  Beneath the willow-tree;
And often, when my heart is raised
  By sermon and by song,        30
Her friendly smile appears to me
  From the seraphic throng.
 
The sunset glow, the moonlit stream,
  Part of my being are;
The fairy flowers that bloom and die,        35
  The skies so clear and far:
The stars that circle Night’s dark brow,
  The winds and waters free,
Each with a lesson all its own,
  Are monitors to me.        40
 
The systems in their endless march
  Eternal truth proclaim;
The flowers God’s love from day to day
  In gentlest accents name;
The skies for burdened hearts and faint        45
  A code of Faith prepare;
What tempest ever left the Heaven
  Without a blue spot there?
 
My native isle! my native isle!
  In sunnier climes I ’ve strayed,        50
But better love thy pebbled beach
  And lonely forest glade,
Where low winds stir with fragrant breath
  The purple violet’s head,
And the star-grass in the early Spring        55
  Peeps from the sere leaf’s bed.
 
I would no more of strife and tears
  Might on thee ever meet,
But when against the tide of years
  This heart hath ceased to beat,        60
Where the green weeping-willows bend
  I fain would go to rest,
Where waters chant, and winds may sweep
  Above my peaceful breast.
 
 
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