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.
Southern States: Chancellorsville, Va.
The Wood of Chancellorsville
Della Jerman Weeks

THE RIPE red berries of the wintergreen
  Lure me to pause awhile
In this deep, tangled wood. I stop and lean
  Down where these wild-flowers smile,
  And rest me in this shade; for many a mile,        5
Through lane and dusty street,
I ’ve walked with weary, weary feet,
And now I tarry mid this woodland scene,
’Mong ferns and mosses sweet.
Here all around me blows        10
The pale primrose.
I wonder if the gentle blossom knows
The feeling at my heart,—the solemn grief,
  So whelming and so deep
That it disdains relief,        15
  And will not let me weep.
I wonder that the woodbine thrives and grows,
And is indifferent to the nation’s woes.
For while these mornings shine, these blossoms bloom,
Impious rebellion wraps the land in gloom.        20
Nature, thou art unkind,
Unsympathizing, blind!
Yon lichen, clinging to the o’erhanging rock,
  Is happy, and each blade of grass
  O’er which unconsciously I pass        25
Smiles in my face, and seems to mock
  Me with its joy. Alas! I cannot find
  One charm in bounteous Nature, while the wind
That blows upon my cheek bears on each gust
The groans of my poor country, bleeding in the dust.        30
The air is musical with notes
That gush from wingéd warblers’ throats,
And in the leafy trees
I hear the drowsy hum of bees.
  Prone from the blinding sky        35
Dance rainbow-tinted sunbeams, thick with motes;
  Daisies are shining, and the butterfly
Wavers from flower to flower;—yet in this wood
The ruthless foeman stood,
And every turf is drenched with human blood!
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