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

New England: Assabet, the River, Mass.

Floating Hearts

By George Bradford Bartlett (1832–1896)

ONE of Indian summer’s most perfect days

Is dreamily dying in golden haze;

Fair Assabet blushes in rosy bliss,

Reflecting the sun’s warm good-night kiss.

Through a fleet of leaf-barques gold and brown

From the radiant maples shaken down,

By the ancient hemlocks grim and gray,

Our boat drifts slowly on its way;

Down past Egg Rock and the meadows wide,

’Neath the old red bridge we slowly glide,

Till we see the Minute-man strong and grand,

And the moss-grown manse in the orchard land.

The boat is as full as a boat should be,

Just nobody in it but you and me.

As brown as the leaves are her beautiful eyes,

And as graceful her hand on the water lies

As she catches the leaves which languid float

On the lazy current along the boat.

Now she asks its name as she tears one apart—

“Fair lady, that is a ‘floating heart.’”

Sad wrecks of years have drifted down

In the dreamless ocean to sink and drown,

Since the beautiful eyes saw that lovely night

And haloed the river with visions bright;

But the floating heart that was caught that day

Has never been able to get away.