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 Southern States
Maryland
Philip Freneau (1752–1832)
 
(Excerpt)

LAVED by vast depths that swell on either side
Where Chesapeake intrudes his midway tide,
Gay Maryland attracts the admiring eye,
A fertile region with a temperate sky.
In years elapsed, her heroes of renown        5
From British Anna named one favorite town:
But, lost her commerce, though she guards their laws,
Proud Baltimore that envied commerce draws.
  Few are the years since there, at random placed,
Some wretched huts her quiet port disgraced;        10
Safe from all winds, and covered from the bay,
There, at his ease, the thoughtless native lay.
Now, rich and great, no more a slave to sloth,
She claims importance from her towering growth,—
High in renown, her streets and domes arranged,        15
A group of cabins to a city changed.
  Though rich at home, to foreign lands they stray,
For foreign trappings trade their wealth away.
Politest manners through their towns prevail,
And pleasure revels, though her funds should fail;        20
In each gay dome soft music charms its lord,
Where female beauty strikes the trembling chord;
On the fine air with nicest touches dwells,
While from the tongue the according ditty swells:
Proud to be seen, ’t is theirs to place delight        25
In dances measured by the winter’s night,
The evening feast, that wine and mirth prolong,
The lamp of splendor, and the midnight song.
*        *        *        *        *
  In those, whom choice or different fortunes place
On rural scenes, a different mind we trace;        30
There solitude, that still to dulness tends,
To rustic forms no sprightly action lends;
Heeds not the garb, mopes o’er the evening fire;
And bids the maiden from the man retire.
On winding floods the lofty mansion stands,        35
That casts a mournful view o’er neighboring lands;
There the sad master strays amidst his grounds,
Directs his negroes, or reviews his hounds;
Then home returning plies his pasteboard play,
Or dreams o’er wine, that hardly makes him gay:        40
If some chance guest arrive in weary plight,
He more than bids him welcome for the night;
Kind to profusion, spares no pains to please,
Gives him the product of his fields and trees;
On his rich board shines plenty from her source,        45
The meanest dish of all—his own discourse.
 
 
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