Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
 
New England: Nantasket, Mass.
Nantasket
Mary Clemmer (1839–1884)
 
(Excerpt)

FAIR is thy face, Nantasket,
  And fair thy curving shores,—
The peering spires of villages,
  The boatman’s dipping oars,
The lonely ledge of Minot,        5
  Where the watchman tends his light,
And sets his perilous beacon,
  A star in the stormiest night.
 
Over thy vast sea highway
  The great ships slide from sight,        10
And flocks of wingéd phantoms
  Flit by, like birds in flight.
Over the toppling sea-wall
  The home-bound dories float,
And I watch the patient fisherman        15
  Bend in his anchored boat.
 
I am alone with Nature;
  With the glad September day.
The leaning hills above me
  With golden-rod are gay,        20
Across the fields of ether
  Flit butterflies at play,
And cones of garnet sumach
  Glow down the country way.
 
The autumn dandelion        25
  Along the roadside burns;
Down from the lichened bowlders
  Quiver the pluméd ferns;
The cream-white silk of the milkweed
  Floats from its sea-green pod;        30
Out from the mossy rock-seams
  Flashes the golden-rod.
 
The woodbine’s scarlet banners
  Flaunt from their towers of stone;
The wan, wild morning-glory        35
  Dies by the road alone;
By the hill-path to the seaside
  Wave myriad azure bells;
And over the grassy ramparts lean
  The milky immortelles.        40
 
Hosts of gold-hearted daisies
  Nod by the wayside bars;
The tangled thicket of green is set
  With the aster’s purple stars;
Beside the brook the gentian        45
  Closes its fringéd eyes,
And waits the later glory
  Of October’s yellow skies.
 
Within the sea-washed meadow
  The wild grape climbs the wall,        50
And from the o’er-ripe chestnuts
  The brown burs softly fall.
I see the tall reeds shiver
  Beside the salt sea marge;
I see the sea-bird glimmer,        55
  Far out on airy barge.
 
I hear in the groves of Hingham
  The friendly caw of the crow,
Till I sit again in Wachusett’s woods,
  In August’s sumptuous glow.        60
The tiny boom of the beetle
  Strikes the shining rocks below;
The gauzy oar of the dragon-fly
  Is beating to and fro.
 
As the lovely ghost of the thistle        65
  Goes sailing softly by;
Glad in its second summer
  Hums the awakened fly;
The cumulate cry of the cricket
  Pierces the amber noon;        70
In from the vast sea-spaces comes
  The clear call of the loon;
Over and through it all I hear
  Ocean’s pervasive rune.
 
Against the warm sea-beaches        75
  Bush the wavelets’ eager lips;
Away o’er the sapphire reaches
  Move on the stately ships.
Peace floats on all their pennons,
  Sailing silently the main,        80
As if never human anguish,
  As if never human pain,
Sought the healing draught of Lethe,
  Beyond the gleaming plain.
 
Fair is the earth behind me,        85
  Vast is the sea before,
Away through the misty dimness
  Glimmers a further shore.
It is no realm enchanted,
  It cannot be more fair        90
Than this nook of Nature’s Kingdom,
  With its spell of space and air.
*        *        *        *        *
 
 
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