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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Oceanica: Vol. XXXI. 1876–79.

Miscellaneous: Polar Regions

The Arctic Lover

By William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878)

GONE is the long, long winter night;

Look, my beloved one!

How glorious, through his depths of light,

Rolls the majestic sun!

The willows, waked from winter’s death,

Give out a fragrance like thy breath,—

The summer is begun!

Ay, ’t is the long bright summer day:

Hark, to that mighty crash!

The loosened ice-ridge breaks away,

The smitten waters flash.

Seaward the glittering mountain rides,

While down its green translucent sides

The foamy torrents dash.

See, love, my boat is moored for thee,

By ocean’s weedy floor,—

The petrel does not skim the sea

More swiftly than my oar.

We ’ll go where, on the rocky isles,

Her eggs the screaming sea-fowl piles

Beside the pebbly shore.

Or, bide thou where the poppy blows,

With wind-flowers frail and fair,

While I, upon his isle of snows,

Seek and defy the bear.

Fierce though he be, and huge of frame,

This arm his savage strength shall tame,

And drag him from his lair.

When crimson sky and flamy cloud

Bespeak the summer o’er,

And the dead valleys wear a shroud

Of snows that melt no more,

I ’ll build of ice thy winter home,

With glistening walls and glassy dome,

And spread with skins the floor.

The white fox by thy couch shall play;

And from the frozen skies

The meteors of a mimic day

Shall flash upon thine eyes.

And I—for such thy vow—meanwhile

Shall hear thy voice and see thy smile,

Till that long midnight flies.