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

New England: Connecticut, the River

Connecticut River

By Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791–1865)

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FAIR river! not unknown to classic song,

Which still in varying beauty roll’st along,

Where first thy infant fount is faintly seen,

A line of silver mid a fringe of green;

Or where near towering rocks thy bolder tide,

To win the giant-guarded pass, doth glide;

Or where in azure mantle pure and free

Thou giv’st thy cool hand to the waiting sea.

Though broader streams our sister realms may boast,

Herculean cities, and a prouder coast,

Yet from the bound where hoarse St. Lawrence roars,

To where La Plata rocks resounding shores,

From where the arms of slimy Nilus shine,

To the blue waters of the rushing Rhine,

Or where Ilissus glows like diamond spark,

Or sacred Ganges whelms her votaries dark,

No brighter skies the eye of day may see,

Nor soil more verdant, nor a race more free.

See! where amid their cultured vales they stand,

The generous offspring of a simple land;

Too rough for flattery, and all fear above,

King, priest, and prophet mid the homes they love,—

On equal laws their anchored hopes are stayed,

By all interpreted and all obeyed;

Alike the despot and the slave they hate,

And rise, firm columns of a happy state.

To them content is bliss, and labor health,

And knowledge power, and pure religion wealth.

The farmer, here, with honest pleasure sees

His orchards blushing to the fervid breeze,

His bleating flocks the shearer’s care that need,

His waving woods the wintry hearth that feed,

His hardy steers that break the yielding soil,

His patient sons who aid their father’s toil,

The ripening fields for joyous harvest drest,

And the white spire that points a world of rest.