Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  The Old Bridge

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

New England: Brookfield, Mass.

The Old Bridge

By Seymour Green Wheeler Benjamin (1837–1914)

DOWN by the river, on this rustic bridge,

I love to while these sunny hours away.

The low wind o’er the meadows breathes a song

That lulls the ear and steals upon the soul

Like voices of the past; the delicate blue

Of the horizon gleams with snowy clouds,

So moveless in the distance that they seem

The peaks of fairy-land, and, oceanwards,

Beneath me, glides the river with a strain

Of music as it laps the rough-hewn piers

Of the old bridge, and winds among the flats

Now golden where the sun strikes through, and gilds

The yellow sand below, or lucent green,

Where verdure clothes the marge, or with the hue

Of heaven on its bosom, till it hides

Among the hills, that spread their friendly arms

To welcome it. Anon a rippling breeze

Skims on the surface, and a deeper blue

Enchants the eye. There leaps a perch, and leaves

A silver circle curling to the shore;

And here the minnows gather, where the bridge

Throws a brown shadow on the stream. A flock

Of wild-fowl, bearing northward, sail o’erhead,—

Specks on the azure. In the languid air,

Before me darts the swallow, and I hear

The meadow-lark, the catbird, and the jay

Afar and near. O songsters of the spring,

Ye seem to bring us health and happiness

Upon your wings, for your wild warbling fills

The weary soul with unaccustomed joy,

With ecstasy that language cannot tell!