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

Middle States: Genesee, the River, N. Y.

My Own Dark Genesee

By William Henry Cuyler Hosmer (1814–1877)

THEY told me southern land could boast

Charms richer than mine own:

Sun, moon, and stars of brighter glow,

And winds of gentler tone;

And parting from each olden haunt,

Familiar rock and tree,

From that sweet vale I wandered far—

Washed by the Genesee.

I pined beneath a foreign sky,

Though birds, like harps in tune,

Lulled Winter on a couch of flowers

Clad in the garb of June.

In vain on reefs of coral broke

The glad waves of the sea;

For, like thy voice they sounded not,

My own dark Genesee!

When Christmas came, though round me grew

The lemon-tree and lime,

And the warm sky above me threw

The blue of summer-time;

I thought of my loved northern home,

And wished for wings to flee

Where frost-bound, between frozen banks,

Lay hushed the Genesee.

For the gray, mossed paternal roof

My throbbing bosom yearned,

And ere the flight of many moons

My steps I homeward turned;

My heart, to joy a stranger long,

Was tuned to rapture’s key,

When ear the murmur heard once more

Of my own Genesee.

Ambition from the scenes of youth

May others lure away

To chase the phantom of renown

Throughout their little day;

I would not, for a palace proud

And slave of pliant knee,

Forsake a cabin in thy vale,

My own dark Genesee.