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: Prairies, The
A Prairie Ride
Margaret Stewart Sibley
ACROSS the prairie, toward the west,
  We rode at day’s declining:
What radiant pictures we beheld,
  In heavenly ether shining!
How blends the purple, rosy light,        5
  And melts into the golden,
Across the azure, crimson bars,
  Like some escutcheon olden.
The prairie seems a grassy lake
  Where countless islets cluster;        10
Green sumac clumps, that wear not yet
  The autumn’s scarlet lustre.
*        *        *        *        *
The varied tints of budding leaves,
  The long, cool shadows lying
Across the grass, weird shapes of clouds        15
  Before the breezes flying;
The plaintive call of whippoorwill,
  The mourning dove’s complaining,
The doleful tale the katydid
  Repeats, no answer gaining;        20
Each sight, each sound our souls possess
  With sense of summer’s being;
And Nature wears her choicest dress
  For those with eyes for seeing!
The splendor fades, the amber pales        25
  To neutral tint uncertain,
And swiftly, fold on fold, descends
  The evening’s sombre curtain.
But still our good steeds gallop on
  O’er phloxes and verbenas;        30
The quiet holds us like a charm,
  No word is said between us.
Sweet stars above, sweet flowers beneath,
  Shine in the twilight faintly,
While rising in the dusky east        35
  The moon glows white and saintly.
We turn our horses’ heads for home,
  Beneath the wind’s cool kisses:
Will life or earth e’er yield again
  A joy as pure as this is?
*        *        *        *        *

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