Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > France
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X.  1876–79.
 
Rhone, the River
The Rhone
Frédéric Mistral (1830–1914)
 
(From Mirèio)
Translated by Harriet W. Preston

THE LITTLE boat, in Andreloun’s control,
Parted the water silent as a sole,
The while the enamored maiden whom I sing,
Herself on the great Rhone adventuring,
Beside the urchin sat, and scanned the wave        5
Intently, with a dreamy eye and grave,
 
Till the boy-boatman spake: “Now knewest thou ever,
Young lady, how immense is the Rhone river?
Betwixt Camargue and Crau might holden be
Right noble jousts! That is Camargue!” said he;        10
“That isle so vast it can discern, I deem,
All the seven mouths of the Arlesian stream.”
 
The rose-lights of the morn were beauteous
Upon the river, as he chatted thus.
And the tartanes, with snowy sails outspread,        15
Tranquilly glided up the stream, impelled
By the light breeze that blew from off the deep,
As by a shepherdess her milk-white sheep.
 
And all along the shore was noble shade
By feathery ash and silver poplar made,        20
Whose hoary trunks the river did reflect,
And giant limbs with wild vines all bedeckt
With ancient vines and tortuous, that upbore
Their knotty, clustered fruit the waters o’er.
 
Majestically calm, but wearily        25
And as he fain would sleep, the Rhone passed by
Like some great veteran dying. He recalls
Music and feasting in Avignon’s halls
And castles, and profoundly sad is he
To lose his name and waters in the sea.        30
 
 
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