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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Middle States: Philadelphia, Pa.

Chalkley Hall

By John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892)


HOW bland and sweet the greeting of this breeze

To him who flies

From crowded street and red wall’s weary gleam,

Till far behind him like a hideous dream

The close dark city lies!

Here, while the market murmurs, while men throng

The marble floor

Of Mammon’s altar, from the crush and din

Of the world’s madness let me gather in

My better thoughts once more.

O, once again revive, while on my ear

The cry of Gain

And low hoarse hum of Traffic die away,

Ye blessed memories of my early day

Like sere grass wet with rain!—

Once more let God’s green earth and sunset air

Old feelings waken;

Through weary years of toil and strife and ill,

Oh, let me feel that my good angel still

Hath not his trust forsaken.

And well do time and place befit my mood:

Beneath the arms

Of this embracing wood, a good man made

His home, like Abraham resting in the shade

Of Mamre’s lonely palms.

Here, rich with autumn gifts of countless years,

The virgin soil

Turned from the share he guided, and in rain

And summer sunshine throve the fruits and grain

Which blessed his honest toil.

Here, from his voyages on the stormy seas,

Weary and worn,

He came to meet his children and to bless

The Giver of all good in thankfulness

And praise for his return.

And here his neighbors gathered in to greet

Their friend again,

Safe from the wave and the destroying gales,

Which reap untimely green Bermuda’s vales,

And vex the Carib main.


Oh, far away beneath New England’s sky,

Even when a boy,

Following my plough by Merrimac’s green shore,

His simple record I have pondered o’er

With deep and quiet joy.

And hence this scene, in sunset glory warm,—

Its woods around,

Its still stream winding on in light and shade,

Its soft green meadows and its upland glade,—

To me is holy ground.