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.
 
Middle States: Ticonderoga, N. Y.
Ticonderoga
V. B. Wilson
 
THE COLD, gray light of the dawning
  On old Carillon falls,
And dim in the mist of the morning
  Stand the grim old fortress walls.
No sound disturbs the stillness        5
  Save the cataract’s mellow roar,
Silent as death is the fortress,
  Silent the misty shore.
 
But up from the wakening waters
  Comes the cool, fresh morning breeze,        10
Lifting the banner of Britain,
  And whispering to the trees
Of the swift gliding boats on the waters
  That are nearing the fog-shrouded land,
With the old Green Mountain Lion,        15
  And his daring patriot band.
 
But the sentinel at the postern
  Heard not the whisper low;
He is dreaming of the banks of the Shannon
  As he walks on his beat to and fro,        20
Of the starry eyes in Green Erin
  That were dim when he marched away,
And a tear down his bronzed cheek courses,
  ’T is the first for many a day.
 
A sound breaks the misty stillness,        25
  And quickly he glances around;
Through the mist, forms like towering giants
  Seem rising out of the ground;
A challenge, the firelock flashes,
  A sword cleaves the quivering air,        30
And the sentry lies dead by the postern,
  Blood staining his bright yellow hair.
 
Then with a shout that awakens
  All the echoes of hillside and glen,
Through the low, frowning gate of the fortress,        35
  Sword in hand, rush the Green Mountain men.
The scarce wakened troops of the garrison
  Yield up their trust pale with fear;
And down comes the bright British banner,
  And out rings a Green Mountain cheer.        40
 
Flushed with pride, the whole eastern heavens
  With crimson and gold are ablaze;
And up springs the sun in his splendor
  And flings down his arrowy rays,
Bathing in sunlight the fortress,        45
  Turning to gold the grim walls,
While louder and clearer and higher
  Rings the song of the waterfalls.
 
Since the taking of Ticonderoga
  A century has rolled away;        50
But with pride the nation remembers
  That glorious morning in May.
And the cataracts’ silvery music
  Forever the story tells,
Of the capture of old Carillon,        55
  The chime of the silver bells. 1
 
Note 1. Carillon is the name given to the fortress by the French, meaning “Chime of Bells.” [back]
 
 
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