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

New England: Mount Desert, Me.

Great Head

By John Weiss (1818–1879)

(From Mount Desert)

THE GROUND-PINE flung its carpet on the steep,

As in and out, along the dinted shore

We crept, the surf-beat secrets to explore,

And map the isle for afterthought to keep.

And when we paused, to brood with talk and pipe

Upon the color of the cliffs and sky,

To watch light glooms of breezes scurry by,

And let each new surprise grow fancy-ripe,

Between the rocks we found our carpet spread;

From the far softness, where the sky and sea

In act of perfect marriage seemed to be,

The afternoon along the deep was led.

Against the seaward reefs, from time to time,

Some wave, more bold and eager than its mates,

Runs up, all white with hurrying, and waits,

And clings, as to a rugged verse the rhyme;

And falling back as slowly as a strain

That sings a mood we fear will slip away,

Our eyes, released, toward each other stray,

And climb, and cling, and act the wave again.

In lulls of speech the coast begins to croon:

Our thought and glance the far horizon sip;

And leagues of freshness break upon each lip

In tangled drift of mirth and talk and tune.

Tired lids of distance fall; between, a stripe

Of mornings clear, a memory, remains.

This eve we sit apart; the autumn gains;

The cricket’s reverie must share my pipe.