Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  The River Coosa

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

Southern States: Coosa, the River, Ga.

The River Coosa

By William J. Grayson (1788–1863)

(From Chicora)

HERE Coosa’s quiet waters lave

Bright fields that blush when Summer smiles;

The sunlight dances on the wave

By white shell beds and marshy isles;

With brimming banks, a kindred stream,

Comb’hee from swamp and forest pours;

They meet, combined, the broader gleam

Of ocean’s surge, on Otter’s shores;

Light clouds in pointed masses lie

On ether floating far and wide,

Like mountains lifted to the sky,

Of snowy top and dusky side;

Sweeping the river’s utmost bound,

Blue sky and emerald marsh between,

Dark lines of forest circle round,

A setting for the pictured scene;

Serenely beautiful it lies,

Breathing an air of Paradise;

So soft, so still, as though a care

Or wrong had never sheltered there;

As though no eye had ever shed

Its tears of anguish for the dead,

Nor heart with sorrow beat or bled.

Fair fields, calm river smooth and bright,

Sweet-breathing flowers and rustling trees,

The honeyed haunts of early bees,

Where birds with morning songs unite

To hail the newly risen light,

What isles of earth are blessed like these?

No age, no blight ye ever know,

O beauteous land and glorious sea!

Still shall your breezes softly blow,

Your rippling waters ever flow,

Blending their ceaseless harmony,

When smiling earth and glowing sky

No longer fill the gazer’s eye,

Hushed his last pulse of hope and fear;

When passing ages shall efface

All memory of his name and race,

Without a toil, without a care,

Nature in her undying grace,

Each form and show as fair and true,

The sea as bright, the sky as blue,

Shall glow with smiles and blushes here.

Still shall be heard the loon’s lone cry

Upon the stream, and to their rest

Long trains of curlews seaward fly,

At sunset, to their sandy nest;

Still joyous from the sparkling tide

With silver sides shall mullets leap;

The eagle soar in wonted pride;

And by their eyrie strong and wide,

On the dry oak beside the deep,

Their watch shall busy ospreys keep;

Still shall the otter win his prize,

Stealthy and dextrous as before;

And marsh-hens fill with startled cries

Or noisy challenges the shore;

And, when from the redundant main

The spring-tide with a bolder sweep

Spreads over all the marshy plain,

Cunning and still shall sit the while

On drifted sedge, a floating isle,

And patiently their vigils keep

Till the short deluge sinks again.