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

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

The Pocantico

By Stephen Henry Thayer (1839–1919)


WILD waters of Pocantico!

Stray rivulet of wood and glen!

Thy murmuring laughters, soft and low,

Elude the alien ears of men.

O’er broader bosoms than thy own

The fleeting wings of commerce glide;

Hid in thy sylvan haunts alone

The nymphs of fairy-land abide.

The azure blue of summer’s sky

Scarce mirrors in thy crystal sheen;

The lover draws his tenderest sigh

Far in thy shadowy dells unseen.

Along thy gently coursing stream

The huntsman, heedless, loves to roam;

The poet dreams his fondest dream

Within thy solitary home.

Thou art well guarded by a host,

For on thy sloping ’bankments stand

Such gnarléd sentinels as boast

A lineage aged as the land.

No hardy woodman dare intrude

To rob thee of thy ancient shade,

Thy mimic cliffs have long withstood

The furrowing plough and vassal spade.

The wild thrush wings its reedy note

Through thy lone forest, liquid clear,

Whose answering echoes, far remote,

Fling back a dim and plaintive cheer.

No tone enslaved in silvery string

Or sense-enrapturing voice is heard

To match thy melodies, or sing

A challenge to thy minstrel bird.

Here sovereign Nature teaches rest;

The quiet mosses on the stone

Weave o’er its silent, flinty breast

An emerald softness all their own.

The pebbly sands along thy shore

Lie mutely, lulled by babbling waves;

The fringéd fern and gentian flower

On thy low margin make their graves:

And through thy valley’s dusky shade

In ceaseless murmurings, ages long,

Shall mingle with the flowers that fade

Thy endless infancy of song.

O waters of Pocantico!

Wild rivulet of wood and glen!

May thy glad laughters, sweet and low,

Long, long outlive the sighs of men!