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

Middle States: New York, the City, N. Y.

The Ferry-Boat

By Richard Henry Stoddard (1825–1903)

WRECKS of clouds of a sombre gray,

Like the ribbed remains of a mastodon,

Were piled in masses along the west,

And a streak of red stretched over the sun.

I stood on the deck of the ferry-boat,

As the summer evening deepened to night;

Where the tides of the river ran darkling past,

Through lengthening pillars of crinkled light.

The wind blew over the land and the waves

With its salt sea-breath, and a spicy balm,

And it seemed to cool my throbbing brain,

And lend my spirit its gusty calm.

The forest of masts, the dark-hulled ships,

The twinkling lights, and the sea of men,—

I read the riddle of each and all,

And I knew their inner meaning then.

For while the beautiful moon arose,

And drifted the boat in her yellow beams,

My soul went down the river of thought,

That flows in the mystic land of dreams!