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

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

The Hudson

By Joseph Rodman Drake (1795–1820)

(From The Culprit Fay)

’T IS the middle watch of a summer’s night:

The earth is dark, but the heavens are bright;

Naught is seen in the vault on high

But the moon, and the stars, and the cloudless sky,

And the flood which rolls its milky hue,

A river of light on the welkin blue.

The moon looks down on old Cronest:

She mellows the shades on his shaggy breast,

And seems his huge gray form to throw

In a silver cone on the wave below;

His sides are broken by spots of shade

By the walnut bough and the cedar made,

And through their clustering branches dark

Glimmers and dies the fire-fly’s spark,—

Like starry twinkles that momently break

Through the rifts of the gathering tempest’s rack.

The stars are on the moving stream,

And fling, as its ripples gently flow,

A burnished length of wavy beam

In an eel-like spiral line below;

The winds are whist and the owl is still,

The bat in the shelvy rock is hid,

And naught is heard on the lonely hill

But the cricket’s chirp, and the answer shrill

Of the gauze-winged katydid;

And the plaint of the wailing whippoorwill,

Who moans unseen, and ceaseless sings,

Ever a note of wail and woe,

Till morning spreads her rosy wings,

And earth and sky in her glances glow.