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

New England: Songo, the River, Me.

Songo River

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)

Connecting Lake Sebago and Long Lake

NOWHERE such a devious stream,

Save in fancy or in dream,

Winding slow through bush and brake,

Links together lake and lake.

Walled with woods or sandy shelf,

Ever doubling on itself

Flows the stream, so still and slow

That it hardly seems to flow.

Never errant knight of old,

Lost in woodland or on wold,

Such a winding path pursued

Through the sylvan solitude.

Never school-boy in his quest

After hazel-nut or nest,

Through the forest in and out

Wandered loitering thus about.

In the mirror of its tide

Tangled thickets on each side

Hang inverted, and between

Floating cloud or sky serene.

Swift or swallow on the wing

Seems the only living thing,

Or the loon, that laughs and flies

Down to those reflected skies.

Silent stream! thy Indian name

Unfamiliar is to fame;

For thou bidest here alone,

Well content to be unknown.

But thy tranquil waters teach

Wisdom deep as human speech,

Moving without haste or noise

In unbroken equipoise.

Though thou turnest no busy mill,

And art ever calm and still,

Even thy silence seems to say

To the traveller on his way:—

“Traveller, hurrying from the heat

Of the city, stay thy feet!

Rest awhile, nor longer waste

Life with inconsiderate haste!

“Be not like a stream that brawls

Loud with shallow waterfalls,

But in quiet self-control

Link together soul and soul.”