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

Introductory to Southern States

South Carolina

By Paul Hamilton Hayne (1830–1886)

(From W. Gilmore Simms, a Poem)

OUTSIDE my exile’s home I watch the sway

Of the bowed pine-tops in the gloaming gray,

Casting across the melancholy lea

A tint of browner blight;

Outside my exile’s home, borne to and fro,

I hear the inarticulate murmurs flow

Of the faint wind-tides breathing like a sea;

When, in clear vision, softly dawns on me

(As if in contrast with yon slow decay)

The loveliest land that smiles beneath the sky,

The coast-land of our Western Italy:

I view the waters quivering; quaff the breeze,

Whose briny raciness keeps an under taste

Of flavorous tropic sweets (perchance swept home

Across the flickering waste

Of summer waves, capped by the Ariel foam)

From Cuba’s perfumed groves and garden spiceries!

Along the horizon-line a vapor swims,

Pale rose and amethyst, melting into gold;

Up to our feet the fawning ripples rolled,

Glimmer an instant, tremble, lapse, and—die:

The whole rare scene, its every element

Etherealized, transmuted, subtly blent

By viewless alchemy,

Into the glory of a golden mood,

Brings potent exaltations, while I walk

(A joyful youth again)

The snow-white beaches by the Atlantic Main!