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

Western States: Ohio, the River

The Ohio

By Ephraim Peabody (1807–1856)


FLOW on, thou glorious river,

Thy mountain-shores between,

To where the Mexique’s stormy waves

Dash on savannas green.

Flow on, between the forests

That bend above thy side,

And ’neath the sky and stars, that lie

Mirrored within thy tide.

High in the distant mountains

Thy first small fountains gush,

And down the steep, through the ravine,

In shallow rills they rush;

Till in the level valley,

To which the hills descend,

Converging from the summits, meet

The thousand rills, and blend.

And soon the narrow mountain stream,

O’er which a child might leap,

Holds on its course with a giant’s force,

In a channel broad and deep.

High up among the mountains,

The fisher boy is seen,

Alone and lounging in the shade,

Along the margin green;

And not a sound disturbs him, save

A squirrel or a bird.

Or on the autumn leaves the noise

“Of dropping nuts is heard.”

But here the city crowds upon

The freedom of the wave,

And many a happy village bank

Thy flowing waters lave.

Upon thy tranquil bosom floats

An empire’s burdened keels,

And every tributary stream

An empire’s wealth reveals.

Flow on, thou mighty river!

High-road of nations, flow!

And thou shalt flow, when all the woods

Upon thy sides are low.

Yes, thou shalt flow eternally,

Though on thy peopled shore

The rising town and dawning state

Should sink to rise no more.