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

Middle States: Neversink, N. J.


By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)

THESE hills, the pride of all the coast,

To mighty distance seen,

With aspect bold and rugged brow,

That shade the neighboring main;

These heights, for solitude designed,

This rude, resounding shore,

These vales impervious to the wind,

Tall oaks, that to the tempest bend,

Half Druid, I adore.

From distant lands a thousand sails

Your hazy summits greet,—

You saw the angry Briton come,

You saw him, last, retreat!

With towering crest, you first appear

The news of land to tell;

To him that comes, fresh joys impart,

To him that goes, a heavy heart,

The lover’s long farewell.

’T is yours to see the sailor bold,

Of persevering mind,

To see him rove in search of care,

And leave true bliss behind;

To see him spread his flowing sails

To trace a tiresome road,

By wintry seas and tempests chased,

To see him o’er the ocean haste,

A comfortless abode!

Your thousand springs of waters blue

What luxury to sip,

As from the mountain’s breast they flow

To moisten Flora’s lip!

In vast retirements herd the deer,

Where forests round them rise,

Dark groves, their tops in ether lost,

That, haunted still by Huddy’s ghost,

The trembling rustic flies.

Proud heights! with pain so often seen

(With joy beheld once more),

On your firm base I take my stand,

Tenacious of the shore:

Let those who pant for wealth or fame

Pursue the watery road;

Soft sleep and ease, blest days and nights,

And health, attend these favorite heights,

Retirement’s blest abode!