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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.

By the Potomac

By Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836–1907)

Virginia, 1865

THE SOFT new grass is creeping o’er the graves

By the Potomac; and the crisp ground-flower

Lifts its blue cup to catch the passing shower;

The pine-cone ripens, and the long moss waves

Its tangled gonfalons above our braves.

Hark, what a burst of music from yon bower!—

The Southern nightingale that, hour by hour,

In its melodious summer madness raves.

Ah, with what delicate touches of her hand,

With what sweet voices, Nature seeks to screen

The awful Crime of this distracted land,—

Sets her birds singing, while she spreads her green

Mantle of velvet where the Murdered lie,

As if to hide the horror from God’s eye.