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.
New England: Brookfield, Mass.
The Old Bridge
Seymour Green Wheeler Benjamin (1837–1914)
DOWN by the river, on this rustic bridge,
I love to while these sunny hours away.
The low wind o’er the meadows breathes a song
That lulls the ear and steals upon the soul
Like voices of the past; the delicate blue        5
Of the horizon gleams with snowy clouds,
So moveless in the distance that they seem
The peaks of fairy-land, and, oceanwards,
Beneath me, glides the river with a strain
Of music as it laps the rough-hewn piers        10
Of the old bridge, and winds among the flats
Now golden where the sun strikes through, and gilds
The yellow sand below, or lucent green,
Where verdure clothes the marge, or with the hue
Of heaven on its bosom, till it hides        15
Among the hills, that spread their friendly arms
To welcome it. Anon a rippling breeze
Skims on the surface, and a deeper blue
Enchants the eye. There leaps a perch, and leaves
A silver circle curling to the shore;        20
And here the minnows gather, where the bridge
Throws a brown shadow on the stream. A flock
Of wild-fowl, bearing northward, sail o’erhead,—
Specks on the azure. In the languid air,
Before me darts the swallow, and I hear        25
The meadow-lark, the catbird, and the jay
Afar and near. O songsters of the spring,
Ye seem to bring us health and happiness
Upon your wings, for your wild warbling fills
The weary soul with unaccustomed joy,        30
With ecstasy that language cannot tell!
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