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

Middle States: Brandywine, the River, Pa.

To the Brandywine

By Bayard Taylor (1825–1878)


AGAIN upon my view

Thou com’st in quiet beauty, gentle stream!

Upon thy waves, the clustering foliage through,

Floats the soft summer beam.

Tall trees above thee bend,

That cast dark shadows on thy swelling breast;

And falls the mellow light in hues that blend,

Soft as the sunset west.

And massy rocks arise,

To whose gray sides the glossy smilax cleaves,

While in the clefts the fox’s timorous eyes

Peep from the clustering leaves.

The pendent willows dip

Their long boughs o’er, and in the water lave;

And stoops the modest golden cup, to sip

The brightly flowing wave.

Thou wind’st through meadows green,

Fringed with tall grass, and graceful bending fern;

And down through glades to join thee, many a stream

Leaps from its mountain urn.


In sunnier climes than ours

Glide brighter streams, o’er sands of golden hue,

And course their way beneath o’ershadowing flowers

And skies of fadeless blue.

Yet still around thy name

A halo lingers, never to decay,

For thou hast seen, of old, young Freedom’s flame,

Beaming with glorious ray.

And once thy peaceful tide

Was filled with life-blood from bold hearts and brave;

And heroes on thy verdant margin died,

The land they loved, to save.

These vales, so calm and still,

Once saw the foeman’s charge,—the bayonet’s gleam;

And heard the thunders roll from hill to hill,

From morn till sunset’s beam.

Yet in thy glorious beauty, now,

Unchanged thou art as when War’s clarion peal

Rang o’er thy waves, and on yon green hill’s brow,

Glittered the serried steel.

And still thy name shall be

A watchword for the brave of Freedom’s clime,

And every patriot’s heart will turn to thee,

As in the olden time.