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

New England: Mount Hope, R. I.

King Philip

By Anonymous


ON Pokanoket’s height

All life is hushed beneath the summer heat;

No human step is heard from morn to night,

And echo can repeat

Naught but the lonely fish-hawk’s piercing screams,

As swooping downward to the placid bay,

To touch the water’s breast he scarcely seems,

Then slow flies homeward with his struggling prey,

Where mate and clamorous young hang eager o’er

Their nest upon the blasted sycamore.

Yon little grove of trees

Waves soundless in the breeze

That wanders down the slope;

Hushed by the countless memories

Which cluster round thy crest, renowned Mount Hope.

How fair the scene!

The city’s gleaming spires, the clustering towns,

The modest villages, half hid in green,

Soft hills and grassy downs,

The dark-blue waves of Narragansett Bay,

Flecked with the snowflakes of an hundred sail,

And, southward, in the distance, cold and gray,

Newport lies sleeping in her foggy veil.

Beyond the eastern waves,

Where Taunton River laves

The harbor’s sandy edges,

Queen of a thousand iron slaves,

Fall River nestles in her granite ledges.


When here King Philip stood,

Or rested in the niche we call his throne,

He looked o’er hill and vale and swelling flood,

Which once were all his own.

Before the white man’s footstep, day by day,

As the sea-tides encroach upon the sand,

He saw his proud possessions melt away,

And found himself a king, without a land.

Constrained by unknown laws,

Judged guilty without cause,

Maddened by treachery,

What wonder that his tortured spirit rose,

And turned upon his foes,

And told his wrongs in words that still we see

Recorded on the page of history.