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.
Introductory to Western States
Albert Pike (1809–1891)
Sunset in Arkansas

  SUNSET again! Behind the massy green
    Of the continuous oaks the sun hath fallen,
  And his last rays have struggled through, between
  The leaf-robed branches, as hopes intervene
    Amid grave cares. The western sky is wallen        5
    With shadowy mountains, built upon the marge
  Of the horizon, from eve’s purple sheen,
  And thin, gray clouds, that insolently lean
    Their silver cones upon the crimson verge
  Of the high zenith, while their unseen base        10
    Is rocked by lightning. It will show its eye
  When dusky Night comes. Eastward, you can trace
    No stain, no spot of cloud upon a sky,
          Pure as an angel’s brow.
    The winds have folded up their swift wings now,        15
And, all asleep, high up in their cloud-cradles lie.
  Beneath the trees, the dusky, purple glooms
    Are growing deeper, more material,
  In windless solitude. The young flower-blooms
  Richly exhale their thin, invisible plumes        20
    Of odor, which they yield not at the call
    Of the hot sun. The birds all sleep within
  Unshaken nests; save the gray owl, that booms
  His plaintive cry, like one that mourns strange dooms;
    And the sad whippoorwill, with lonely din.        25
  There is a deep, calm beauty all around,
    A heavy, massive, melancholy look,
  A unison of lonely sight and sound,
    Which touch us, till the soul can hardly brook
          Its own sad feelings here.        30
    They do not wring from the full heart a tear,
But give us heavy thoughts, like reading a sad book.
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