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

Southern States: Kekoughton, the River, Va.

Sunset on the Kekoughton River

By James Barron Hope (1829–1887)

SEE the scattered clouds of evening,—

Lattice bars across the blue,—

Where the moon in pallid beauty

Like an angel gazes through!

Over all the winding river,

By the fading sunset kissed,

Slowly rises up the vapor

In a cloud of ghostly mist.

While the eve is slowly turning

Its last grains of golden sand,

What a holy quiet hovers

Over all the drowsy land!

There is now the spell of silence,

Of a silence calm and deep,

Over all the placid waters

Where the pale mist seems asleep.

And the vessels, slowly gliding

Down the river to the bay,

Show on spreading sheets of canvas

Tints that change from red to gray.

All is quiet, save the murmur

Of the tide upon the bar:

See each little breaker playing

With the image of a star!

And ’t is thus that human creatures,

Bowed with age, or fresh in youth,

Give back brokenly the image

Of each grand, celestial truth.

Now the brooding silence deepens,

And the scene is one of rest,

As the wrecked day drifts down grandly

To be stranded in the West,

On yon rugged coast of Cloudland

High above the village spire,

On its mighty, purple headlands

And its crags all tipped with fire.