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

New England: Narragansett Bay, R. I.

Narragansett Bay

By James Wallis Eastburn (1797–1819)

(From Yamoyden)

THE SUN is sinking from the sky

In calm and cloudless majesty;

And cooler hours, with gentle sway,

Succeed the fiery heat of day.

Forest and shore and rippling tide

Confess the evening’s influence wide,

Seen lovelier in that fading light

That heralds the approaching night;

That magic coloring Nature throws,

To deck her beautiful repose,

When floating on the breeze of even,

Long clouds of purple streak the heaven,

With brighter tints of glory blending,

And darker hues of night descending,

While hastening to its shady rest

Each weary songster seeks its nest,

Chanting a last, a farewell lay,

As gloomier falls the parting day.

Broad Narragansett’s bosom blue

Has shone with every varying hue;

The mystic alchemy of even

Its rich delusions all has given.

The silvery sheet unbounded spread,

First melting from the waters fled;

Next the wide path of beaten gold

Flashing with fiery sparkles rolled;—

As all its gorgeous glories died,

An amber tinge blushed o’er the tide;

Faint and more faint, as more remote,

The lessening ripples peaceful float;

And now, one ruby line alone

Trembles, is paler, and is gone,

And from the blue wave fades away

The last life-tint of dying day!

In darkness veiled, was seen no more

Canonicut’s extended shore;

Each little isle, with bosom green,

Descending mists impervious screen;

One gloomy shade o’er all the woods

Of forest-fringed Aquetnet broods;

Where solemn oak was seen before

Beside the rival sycamore,

Or pine and cedar lined the height,

All in one livery brown were dight.

But lo! with orb serene on high,

The round moon climbs the eastern sky;

The stars all quench their feebler rays

Before her universal blaze.

Round moon! how sweetly dost thou smile

Above that green reposing isle,

Soft cradled in the illumined bay,

Where from its bank the shadows seem

Melting in filmy light away.

Far does thy tempered lustre stream,

Checkering the tufted groves on high,

While glens in gloom beneath them lie.

Oft sheeted with the ghostly beam,

Mid the thick forest’s mass of shade,

The shingled roof is gleaming white,

Where labor, in the cultured glade,

Has all the wild a garden made.

And there with silvery tassels bright

The serried maize is waving slow,

While fitful shadows come and go,

Swift o’er its undulating seas,

As gently breathes the evening breeze.