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 Western States
Ohio
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)
 
Catawba Wine

          THIS song of mine
          Is a Song of the Vine,
To be sung by the glowing embers
          Of wayside inns,
          When the rain begins        5
To darken the drear Novembers.
 
          It is not a song
          Of the Scuppernong,
From warm Carolinian valleys,
          Nor the Isabel        10
          And the Muscadel
That bask in our garden alleys.
 
          Nor the red Mustang,
          Whose clusters hang
O’er the waves of the Colorado,        15
          And the fiery flood
          Of whose purple blood
Has a dash of Spanish bravado.
 
          For richest and best
          Is the wine of the West,        20
That grows by the Beautiful River;
          Whose sweet perfume
          Fills all the room
With a benison on the giver.
 
          And as hollow trees        25
          Are the haunts of bees,
Forever going and coming;
          So this crystal hive
          Is all alive
With a swarming and buzzing and humming.        30
 
          Very good in its way
          Is the Verzenay,
Or the Sillery soft and creamy;
          But Catawba wine
          Has a taste more divine,        35
More dulcet, delicious, and dreamy.
 
          There grows no vine
          By the haunted Rhine,
By Danube or Guadalquivir,
          Nor on island or cape,        40
          That bears such a grape
As grows by the Beautiful River.
 
          Drugged is their juice
          For foreign use,
When shipped o’er the reeling Atlantic,        45
          To rack our brains
          With the fever pains,
That have driven the Old World frantic.
 
          To the sewers and sinks
          With all such drinks,        50
And after them tumble the mixer;
          For a poison malign
          Is such Borgia wine,
Or at best but a Devil’s Elixir.
 
          While pure as a spring        55
          Is the wine I sing,
And to praise it, one needs but name it;
          For Catawba wine
          Has need of no sign,
No tavern-bush to proclaim it.        60
 
          And this Song of the Vine,
          This greeting of mine,
The winds and the birds shall deliver
          To the Queen of the West,
          In her garlands dressed,        65
On the banks of the Beautiful River.
 
 
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