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

Middle States: Ausable, the River, N. Y.

The Ausable

By Alfred Billings Street (1811–1881)

IN the stately Indian Pass,

From my fount of shadowy glass,

I struggle along in hollow song

On my blind and caverned way.

Sharp, splintered crags ascend,

Wild firs above me bend,

And I leap and dash with many a flash

To find the welcome day.

The lean wolf laps my flow;

In my pointed pools below,

The grand gray eagle’s tawny eye

Like lightning fires the gloom.

Not oft is the warbling bird

In my jagged cradle heard,

For I am the child of the savage and wild,

Not pet of the sun and bloom.

I smite, in headlong shocks,

Roots clutching the ragged rocks,

And the blocks of my sable basins

And the chasms my fury ploughs,

Where the raven, as o’er he flies,

Sees the frown of his deepest dyes,

As the murkiest pall of the forest

Is flung from the dungeon-boughs.

Old Whiteface cleaves apart

In dizziest heights his heart

For the roll of my rocky waters;

And I lighten and thunder through.

And sometimes I tame my will

To sing like the wren-like rill,

And I mirror the flower and bending bower,

And laugh in the open blue.

But sometimes the cataract-rain

Fills my breast with frantic disdain,

And my boiling deep shoots torrent-like,

Lashing and crashing past;—

Whole forests I tear in my wrath;

Whole hamlets I strew on my path,

Till my wild waves break upon the lake,

And I slumber in peace at last.