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.
Western States: Kanawha, the River, West Va.
The Kanawha
Lewis Ringe

NATURE’S lover, pause to see,
Where Kanawha wanders free;
Nature in her wildest mood,
Mid her grandest solitude;
With her mountains thronged around,        5
Listening to the torrent’s sound;
Hill and valley, rock and floods,
Waving with eternal woods:
Here the earth-cloud lowly creeping,
There along the summit sleeping;        10
Here the cliff uplifting high
Its bold forehead to the sky,
There, like a gigantic lover,
Bending with devotion over
The coy river, swift and clear,—        15
A gay, bounding mountaineer.
Now it winds away, away,
Sporting with its jewelled spray;
Now it seems to woo your feet,
But, ah! trust not the deceit;        20
Shrub and pebble though they seem,
Rock and forest guard the stream.
E’en the Grecian lover’s leap
Never tempted such a steep,
Where the hawkling far below        25
Nestles ’neath the beetling brow;
While along yon craggy bed
Lurks the vengeful copperhead,
And the avalanche of rock
Poises for an earthquake-shock.        30
All is fresh, sublime, and wild,
As when first by Nature piled,
Ere the white-man wandered here,
Or the red-man chased the deer,—
Naming, ere he fled forever,        35
This, his own Romantic River.
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