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

New England: Kennebec, the River, Me.

The Kennebec

By Anonymous

THERE is a hill o’erlooking Norridgewock

Whose summit is a crown of mossy rock,

Whereon the daylight lingers ere it dies,

When the broad valley in the gloaming lies.

Around you are the everlasting hills,

Whose presence all your soul with worship fills.

The distant mountains, purple clad, are grouped

Like monarchs, when the golden sun has stooped

Down toward his journey’s ending in the west,

The amaranthine palace of his rest.

Below, the river, like a sheet of glass,

Reflects the glories of the clouds which pass

In slow procession, waiting for the day

To change her regal raiment for the gray—

The gleaming river, winding slowly down

Beneath its shady banks from town to town,

With here a wide stretch, like a lake, revealed

By the low level of a fertile field,

And here but hinted at, or half concealed

Behind the clustering maples of a grove

Where all the day the mocking echoes rove.

You look upon a range of intervales

Where the abundant harvest never fails.

You see the milkmaid drive the loitering line

Of solemn-minded, melancholy kine.

Perhaps a solitary crow flaps by,

With heavy wing and hoarse, defiant cry,

And settles on the summit of the pine,

Waiting in patience till the friendly shade

Shall shield the purport of his nightly raid.

Then, as the sun sinks in a cloud of fire,

The bell, which consecrates the chapel spire,

Rising amid a perfect bower of trees,

Sends forth its evening message on the breeze.

And from the hills which girt the town around

Return the answers of its silver sound;

And o’er the misty river and the meadows

Creep slowly, slowly, the long, sombre shadows.