Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Russia
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Russia: Vol. XX.  1876–79.
America to Russia
Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894)
THOUGH watery deserts hold apart
  The worlds of East and West,
Still beats the selfsame human heart
  In each proud nation’s breast.
Our floating turret tempts the main,        5
  And dares the howling blast
To clasp more close the golden chain
  That long has bound them fast.
In vain the gales of ocean sweep,
  In vain the billows roar        10
That chafe the wild and stormy steep
  Of storied Elsinore.
She comes! she comes! her banners dip
  In Neva’s flashing tide,
With greetings on her cannon’s lip,        15
  The storm-god’s iron bride!
Peace garlands with the olive-bough
  Her thunder-bearing tower,
And plants before her cleaving prow
  The sea-foam’s milk-white flower.        20
No prairies heaped their garnered store
  To fill her sunless hold,
Not rich Nevada’s gleaming ore
  Its hidden caves infold;
But lightly as the sea-bird swings        25
  She floats the depths above,
A breath of flame to lend her wings,
  Her freight a people’s love!
When darkness hid the starry skies
  In war’s long winter night,        30
One ray still cheered our straining eyes,
  The far-off Northern light!
And now the friendly rays return
  From lights that glow afar,
Those clustered lamps of Heaven that burn        35
  Around the Western Star.
A nation’s love in tears and smiles
  We bear across the sea,
O Neva of the banded isles,
  We moor our hearts in thee!        40

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