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

New England: Norridgewock, Me.

Old Norridgewock

By Nathan Haskell Dole (1852–1935)

THIS is a quiet old town, living more in the past than the present;

Dreamily flows its life, like its dreamy, beautiful river.

Grass grows green in its streets, the streets are still and deserted;

Over them arch the elms, the gothic roof of a temple.

Birds are the only choirs, the wind is a deep-sounding organ,

As it plays on the branches of pines hanging over the river.

Moss is deep on thy roofs, O Norridgewock! old are thy houses!

Past are the palmy days when thy stores were busy with traffic,

And on the green were heard the merry voices of children.

Rarely now the dust of thy street is disturbed by a carriage,

And a stranger passing on foot is regarded with wonder.

But thy beauty remains, thy wooded hills and thy orchards,

And the pastures dotted with sheep or ruminant cattle,

And thy Kennebec, unchanged yet constantly changing,

Varying with the sky, now sombre, now gleefully laughing

As the joyous breeze and the sunbeams play on its waters;

Now reflecting its banks and the old oaks bending above it;

Or golden lights from the clouds, when the wind is still and the sunset

Paints on the western sky the glory of gold and of crimson.


Sunset Hill looks down on the village, and hither the young folks

Thrice in a summer carry their baskets and lunch on its summit.

There is a lovely view,—the Kennebec valley, the river

Calm as a windless lake, reflecting its banks and its bridges,

Hidden here, and here in sight, till it reaches Skowhegan.

Under us lies the village, but lost mid its elms and its maples.

Watched by the old church tower and the court-house, long since deserted,

And in the west are the mountains, all faint and blue in the distance.