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

Western States: Ohio, the River

The Beautiful River

By Edward Reynolds

AN OLD, familiar friend! I saw the flow

Of wayward Wabash to Ohio’s flood,

Long leagues away from where I learned to know

And love the stream; and on its banks I stood

As friend meets friend in some familiar wood,

Its ripples, wrought to flecks of ashy foam;

Its bright, clay-tinted waves; its finny brood;

And even the shells half-buried in the loam,—

All came to me like welcome messages from home.

Here meet and mingle genially in one

The Wabash with Ohio’s silver wave.

The Beautiful River! How its waters run,

Inspiring joy and plenty as they lave

The smiling land they irrigate to save.

The Beautiful River!—gentle, clear, and bright,—

Beloved now as when the ancient brave

Propelled his swift canoe athwart the light,

Where gorgeous palace boats now break upon the sight.

Green islands gem the bosom of the stream;

Their sandy slopes beneath the waters dip;

And on the wooded banks the sunbeams gleam,

Reflected in the dew-drops as they drip

From oaks and elms, and clinging vines that grip

The leafy boughs with loving tendrils strong;

The trumpet-flowers smile with ruddy lip;

The mistletoe extends the boughs along,

And wooes the graceful jay-bird’s hoarse but cheerful song.