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.
 
Southern States: Oconee, the River, Ga.
Oconee
Henry R. Jackson (1820–1898)
 
OCONEE! in my tranquil slumbers,
  At the silent dead of night,
Oft I see thy golden waters
  Flashing in the rosy light;
And flashing brightly, gushing river,        5
  On the spirit of my dream,
As in moments fled forever,
  When I wandered by thy stream,—
 
A forest lad, a careless rover,
  Rising at the dawn of day,        10
With my dog and gun,—a hunter,
  Shouting o’er the hills away,—
And ever would my shoeless footprints
  Trace the shortest path to thee;
There the plumpest squirrel ever        15
  Chuckled on the chestnut-tree.
 
And when, at noon, the sun of summer
  Glowed too fiercely from the sky,
On thy banks were bowers grateful
  To a rover such as I,        20
Among the forest branches woven
  By the richly scented vine,
Yellow jasmine, honeysuckle,
  And by creeping muscadine.
 
And there I lay in pleasant slumber,        25
  And the rushing of thy stream
Ever made a gentle music,
  Blending softly with my dream,—
My dream of her who near thy waters
  Grew beneath my loving eye,        30
Fairest maid of Georgia’s daughters,—
  Sweetest flower beneath her sky!
 
With snowy brow, and golden ringlets,
  Eyes that beggared heaven’s blue,
Voice as soft as summer streamlets,        35
  Lips as fresh as morning dew!—
Although she played me oft the coquette,
  Dealing frowns and glances shy,
These but made her smiles the dearer
  To a rover such as I.        40
 
What if the earth by fairer river
  Nursed more beauteous maid than she,—
He had found a slow believer
  Who had told that tale to me;
And sure I am, no knighted lover        45
  Truer faith to ladie bore,
Than the little barefoot rover,
  Dreaming on thy pleasant shore.
 
The happiest hours of life are vanished;
  She has vanished with them, too!        50
Other bright-eyed Georgia damsels
  Blossom where my lily grew;—
And yet the proudest, and the sweetest
  To my heart can never seem
Lovely as the little Peri        55
  Mouldering by thy murmurous stream!
 
 
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