Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Americas
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Americas: Vol. XXX.  1876–79.
 
British America: Red River, Canada
The Red River Voyageur
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892)
 
OUT and in the river is winding
  The links of its long, red chain
Through belts of dusky pine-land
  And gusty leagues of plain.
 
Only, at times, a smoke-wreath        5
  With the drifting cloud-rack joins,—
The smoke of the hunting-lodges
  Of the wild Assiniboins!
 
Drearily blows the north-wind
  From the land of ice and snow;        10
The eyes that look are weary,
  And heavy the hands that row.
 
And with one foot on the water,
  And one upon the shore,
The Angel of Shadow gives warning        15
  That day shall be no more.
 
Is it the clang of wild-geese?
  Is it the Indian’s yell,
That lends to the voice of the north-wind
  The tones of a far-off bell?        20
 
The voyageur smiles as he listens
  To the sound that grows apace;
Well he knows the vesper ringing
  Of the bells of St. Boniface.
 
The bells of the Roman Mission,        25
  That call from their turrets twain,
To the boatman on the river,
  To the hunter on the plain!
 
Even so in our mortal journey
  The bitter north-winds blow,        30
And thus upon life’s Red River
  Our hearts, as oarsmen, row.
 
And when the Angel of Shadow
  Rests his feet on wave and shore,
And our eyes grow dim with watching        35
  And our hearts faint at the oar,
 
Happy is he who heareth
  The signal of his release
In the bells of the Holy City,
  The chimes of eternal peace!        40
 
 
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