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.
 
Introductory to New England
Connecticut
Fitz-Greene Halleck (1790–1867)
 
AND still her gray rocks tower above the sea
  That murmurs at their feet, a conquered wave;
’T is a rough land of earth and stone and tree,
  Where breathes no castled lord or cabined slave;
Where thoughts and tongues and hands are bold and free,        5
  And friends will find a welcome, foes a grave;
And where none kneel, save when to Heaven they pray,
Nor even then, unless in their own way.
 
Theirs is a pure republic, wild, yet strong,
  A “fierce democracie,” where all are true        10
To what themselves have voted—right or wrong—
  And to their laws, denominated blue
(If red, they might to Draco’s code belong);
  A vestal state, which power could not subdue,
Nor promise win,—like her own eagle’s nest,        15
Sacred,—the San Marino of the west.
 
A justice of the peace, for the time being,
  They bow to, but may turn him out next year:
They reverence their priest, but, disagreeing
  In price or creed, dismiss him without fear:        20
They have a natural talent for foreseeing
  And knowing all things; and should Park appear
From his long tour in Africa, to show
The Niger’s source, they ’d meet him with—We know.
 
They love their land, because it is their own,        25
  And scorn to give aught other reason why;
Would shake hands with a king upon his throne,
  And think it kindness to his majesty;
A stubborn race, fearing and flattering none.
  Such are they nurtured, such they live and die:        30
All—but a few apostates, who are meddling
With merchandise, pounds, shillings, pence, and peddling.
*        *        *        *        *
Hers is not Tempe’s nor Arcadia’s spring,
  Nor the long summer of Cathayan vales,
The vines, the flowers, the air, the skies, that fling        35
  Such wild enchantment o’er Boccaccio’s tales
Of Florence and the Arno; yet the wing
  Of life’s best angel, Health, is on her gales
Through sun and snow, and in the autumn time
Earth has no purer and no lovelier clime.        40
 
Her clear, warm heaven at noon,—the mist that shrouds
  Her twilight hills,—her cool and starry eves,
The glorious splendor of her sunset clouds,
  The rainbow beauty of her forest leaves,
Come o’er the eye, in solitude and crowds,        45
  Where’er his web of song her poet weaves;
And his mind’s brightest vision but displays
The autumn scenery of his boyhood’s days.
 
And when you dream of woman, and her love,
  Her truth, her tenderness, her gentle power;        50
The maiden, listening in the moonlight grove;
  The mother, smiling in her infant’s bower;
Forms, features, worshipped while we breathe or move,
  Be, by some spirit of your dreaming hour,
Borne, like Loretto’s chapel, through the air        55
To the green land I sing, then wake; you ’ll find them there.
*        *        *        *        *
 
 
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