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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

India: Ganges, the River

The Hindoo Girl’s Song

By Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802–1838)

  • The Hindoo girls make a little boat out of a cocoanut shell, place a small lamp and flowers within it, and launch it on the Ganges. If it floats out of sight with its lamp still burning, the omen is prosperous; if it sinks, the love of which it questions is ill-fated.

  • FLOAT on, float on, my haunted bark,

    Above the midnight tide;

    Bear softly o’er the waters dark

    The hopes that with thee glide.

    Float on, float on; thy freight is flowers,

    And every flower reveals

    The dreaming of my lonely hours,

    The hope my spirit feels.

    Float on, float on; thy shining lamp,

    The light of love, is there;

    If lost beneath the waters damp,

    That love must then despair.

    Float on,—beneath the moonlight, float,

    The sacred billows o’er:

    Ah, some kind spirit guards my boat,

    For it has gained the shore.