Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Fairhaven Bay

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

New England: Concord, the River

Fairhaven Bay

By George Parsons Lathrop (1851–1898)

I PUSH on through the shaggy wood,

I round the hill: ’t is here it stood;

And there, beyond the crumbled walls,

The shining Concord slowly crawls,

Yet seems to make a passing stay,

And gently spreads its lilied bay,

Curbed by this green and reedy shore,

Up toward the ancient homestead’s door.

But dumbly sits the shattered house,

And makes no answer: man and mouse

Long since forsook it, and decay

Chokes its deep heart with ashes gray.

On what was once a garden-ground

Dull red-bloomed sorrels now abound;

And boldly whistles the shy quail

Within the vacant pasture’s pale.

Ah, strange and savage, where he shines,

The sun seems staring through those pines

That once the vanished home could bless

With intimate, sweet loneliness.

The ignorant, elastic sod

The feet of them that daily trod

Its roods hath utterly forgot:

The very fireplace knows them not.

For, in the weedy cellar, thick

The ruined chimney’s mass of brick

Lies strown. Wide heaven, with such an ease

Dost thou, too, lose the thought of these?

Yet I, although I know not who

Lived here, in years that voiceless grew

Ere I was born,—and never can,—

Am moved, because I am a man.

O glorious gift of brotherhood!

O sweet elixir in the blood,

That makes us live with those long dead,

Or hope for those that shall be bred

Hereafter! No regret can rob

My heart of this delicious throb;

No thought of fortunes haply wrecked,

Nor pang for nature’s wild neglect.

And, though the hearth be cracked and cold,

Though ruin all the place enfold,

These ashes that have lost their name

Shall warm my life with lasting flame!