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: Potomac, the River, Va.
A Potomac Picture
Elizabeth Akers Allen (1832–1911)
 
A LITTLE shallop floating slow along
      The fair Potomac’s tide,
The oarsman pausing for a simple song,
      Sung softly at his side;—
 
A quaint, old-fashioned love-song, such as stirs        5
      All tender souls, and thrills
To sudden youth the hearts of grandmothers,
      Among New England’s hills.
 
Great boughs of laurel garlanding the boat,
      Won from the bloomy store        10
Of forests, lying purple and remote
      Along the eastern shore.
 
Far off, the city and the growing dome
      Of the fair Capitol,—
White and ethereal as the feathery foam        15
      Fringing the oar-blade’s fall.
 
A fort looks down in silence from the hill,
      Holding its fiery breath,
As loath to mar the peace so sweet and still
      By any thought of death.        20
 
The blossomed fruit-trees drape the frowning walls,
      Disputing all their gloom,
And on the pyramids of cannon-balls
      Drops the white chestnut-bloom.
 
The mounted guns, all threatening and grim,        25
      Speak not their thunderous words,—
And in and out among their muzzles skim,
      Unscared, the meadow birds.
 
In the horizon waits one patient star,
      A sphere of silver white,        30
While the full moon, above the hill-tops far,
      Slow reddens into sight.
*        *        *        *        *
 
 
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