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

Introductory to Western States


By Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894)

The Minnesota Water-shed

BEHOLD the rocky wall

That down its sloping sides

Pours the swift rain-drops, blending, as they fall,

In rushing river-tides!

Yon stream, whose sources run

Turned by a pebble’s edge,

Is Athabasca, rolling toward the sun

Through the cleft mountain-ledge.

The slender rill had strayed,

But for the slanting stone,

To evening’s ocean, with the tangled braid

Of foam-flecked Oregon.

So from the heights of Will

Life’s parting stream descends,

And, as a moment turns its slender rill,

Each widening torrent bends,—

From the same cradle’s side,

From the same mother’s knee,—

One to long darkness and the frozen tide,

One to the Peaceful Sea!