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

Introductory to New England


By Fitz-Greene Halleck (1790–1867)

AND still her gray rocks tower above the sea

That murmurs at their feet, a conquered wave;

’T is a rough land of earth and stone and tree,

Where breathes no castled lord or cabined slave;

Where thoughts and tongues and hands are bold and free,

And friends will find a welcome, foes a grave;

And where none kneel, save when to Heaven they pray,

Nor even then, unless in their own way.

Theirs is a pure republic, wild, yet strong,

A “fierce democracie,” where all are true

To what themselves have voted—right or wrong—

And to their laws, denominated blue

(If red, they might to Draco’s code belong);

A vestal state, which power could not subdue,

Nor promise win,—like her own eagle’s nest,

Sacred,—the San Marino of the west.

A justice of the peace, for the time being,

They bow to, but may turn him out next year:

They reverence their priest, but, disagreeing

In price or creed, dismiss him without fear:

They have a natural talent for foreseeing

And knowing all things; and should Park appear

From his long tour in Africa, to show

The Niger’s source, they ’d meet him with—We know.

They love their land, because it is their own,

And scorn to give aught other reason why;

Would shake hands with a king upon his throne,

And think it kindness to his majesty;

A stubborn race, fearing and flattering none.

Such are they nurtured, such they live and die:

All—but a few apostates, who are meddling

With merchandise, pounds, shillings, pence, and peddling.


Hers is not Tempe’s nor Arcadia’s spring,

Nor the long summer of Cathayan vales,

The vines, the flowers, the air, the skies, that fling

Such wild enchantment o’er Boccaccio’s tales

Of Florence and the Arno; yet the wing

Of life’s best angel, Health, is on her gales

Through sun and snow, and in the autumn time

Earth has no purer and no lovelier clime.

Her clear, warm heaven at noon,—the mist that shrouds

Her twilight hills,—her cool and starry eves,

The glorious splendor of her sunset clouds,

The rainbow beauty of her forest leaves,

Come o’er the eye, in solitude and crowds,

Where’er his web of song her poet weaves;

And his mind’s brightest vision but displays

The autumn scenery of his boyhood’s days.

And when you dream of woman, and her love,

Her truth, her tenderness, her gentle power;

The maiden, listening in the moonlight grove;

The mother, smiling in her infant’s bower;

Forms, features, worshipped while we breathe or move,

Be, by some spirit of your dreaming hour,

Borne, like Loretto’s chapel, through the air

To the green land I sing, then wake; you ’ll find them there.