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

Middle States: Red Mill, the River, N. Y.

The Red Mill Fall

By Alfred Billings Street (1811–1881)

WITH one bold spring, the little streamlet sinks

Prostrate below, and slumbers still and pure,

Holding its silver mirror to the sun

And open sky. It rushes from its height,

Like some bold warrior to the gladdening fray;

Then rests like that same warrior in repose,

Smiling at victory won. When summer noon

Makes earth and air all drowsy with its heat,

Delicious is the rumble of the plunge

Sounding its grateful coolness to the ear,

And blending sweetly with the sighing tones

Born where the pine uplifts its dark blue spire,

And with the humming, like a giant bee,

The tall slim mill yields ever through the day.

Noon’s columned beams bring likewise out the hues

That shift and quiver upon the headlong sheet;

The emerald and the sapphire of its curve,

The diamond tremble of its glancing drops,

And all the tints that glitter in the threads—

Divided sunshine—of the opal bow

Gleaming and dancing in the snowy foam

Born at its tumbling foot. The afternoon

Steeps it in pleasant shadow, with a ring

Of radiance on the cedar’s slender tip

And mill’s sharp roof, and moonlight makes the pitch

One slope of silver. A delicious spot!

And lovers wander here in summer hours,

To gaze upon the scene, and, in the soft

And glowing day-dreams given by Hope and Love,

Muse on the things that meet their mingled sight.

In the swift plunging stream the youth beholds

The course of man,—his energy of will,

His rush of action, turbulence of soul;

While sees the maiden in the pool below

The life of woman,—gentle, sweet, and bright,

Receiving to her bosom reckless man,

Yet glassing in her crystal purity

The stars and sunshine of the heaven above her.