Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Bennett’s Bridge
By Joseph H. Nichols
 
THOU 1 beautiful, romantic Dell!
Thy banks of hemlock highlands swell,
Like huge sea billows, o’er the isles
Round which the branching river smiles.
Look up! how sombre and how vast        5
The shadows those dark mountains cast,
Making noon twilight; or, look down
The giddy depths, so steep and brown,
Where claret waters foam and play
A tinkling tune, then dance away.        10
 
Oft, with my oak leaf basket green,
On summer holidays serene,
Along your hill-sides have I stray’d,
And, on the ground, all scarlet made,
Pick’d in full stems, as low I kneel’d,        15
Strawberries, rubies of the field,
Coming late home; or, in the flood,
Cool’d the warm current of my blood;
While swam the house-dog after me,
With long red tongue lapt out in glee.        20
 
’T is glorious, here, at breaking day,
To watch the orient clouds of gray
Blush crimson, as the yellow sun
Walks up to take his purple throne,
And melts to snowy mists the dew        25
That kiss’d, all night, each blossom’s hue,
Till, like a tumbling ocean spread,
They hide low vale and tall cliff’s head,
And many a tree’s fantastic form
Looks like some toss’d ship in a storm.        30
 
How still the scene! yet, here war’s hum
Once echoed wildly from the drum,
When waved the lily flower’s gay bloom
O’er glittering troops with sword and plume,
Who, on the clover meadows round,        35
Their white tents pitch’d, while music’s sound,
From horn and cymbal, play’d some strain
That oft had charm’d the banks of Seine,
And village girls came down to dance,
At evening with the youths of France.        40
 
Fair was the hour, secluded Dell!
When last I taught my listening shell
Sweet notes of thee. The bright moon shone,
As, on the shore, I mused alone,
And frosted rocks, and streams, and tree,        45
With rays that beam’d, like eyes, on me.
A silver robe the mountains hung,
A silver song the waters sung,
And many a pine was heard to quiver,
Along my own blue flowing river.        50
 
Note 1. Nichols is a native of Connecticut, and now a resident of the city of New York. He received a degree at Yale College in 1825. He is the author of some descriptive poetry of much graphic truth and freshness.

  Bennett’s Bridge is a wild and picturesque pass of the Housatonic, about twenty miles from its mouth, near the pleasant village of Newtown, Connecticut. [back]
 
 
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