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

New England: Nashua, the River


By Rufus Dawes (1803–1859)

(From Lancaster)

O THOU who journeyest through that Eden-clime,

Winding thy devious way to cheat the time,

Delightful Nashua! beside thy stream,

Fain would I paint thy beauties as they gleam.

Eccentric river! poet of the woods!

Where, in thy far secluded solitudes,

The wood-nymphs sport and naiads plash thy wave,

With charms more sweet than ever Fancy gave;

How oft with Mantua’s bard, from school let free,

I ’ve conned the silver lines that flow like thee,

Couched on thy emerald banks, at full length laid,

Where classic elms grew lavish of their shade,

Or indolently listened, while the throng

Of idler beings woke their summer song;

Or, with rude angling gear, outwatched the sun,

Comparing mine to deeds by Walton done.

Far down the silent stream, where arching trees

Bend their green boughs so gently to the breeze,

One live, broad mass of molten crystal lies,

Clasping the mirrored beauties of the skies!

Look, how the sunshine breaks upon the plains!

So the deep blush their flattered glory stains.

Romantic river! on thy quiet breast,

While flashed the salmon with his lightning crest,

Not long ago, the Indian’s thin canoe

Skimmed lightly as the shadow which it threw;

Not long ago, beside thy banks of green,

The night-fire blazed and spread its dismal sheen.

Thou peaceful valley! when I think how fair

Thy various beauty shines, beyond compare,

I cannot choose but own the Power that gave

Amidst thy woes a helping hand to save,

When o’er thy hills the savage war-whoop came,

And desolation raised its funeral flame!