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

Western States: Mississippi, the River

To the Mississippi

By Charles Timothy Brooks (1813–1883)

MAJESTIC stream! along thy banks,

In silent, stately, solemn ranks,

The forests stand, and seem with pride

To gaze upon thy mighty tide;

As when, in olden classic time,

Beneath a soft, blue Grecian clime,

Bent o’er the stage, in breathless awe,

Crowds thrilled and trembled, as they saw

Sweep by the pomp of human life,

The sounding flood of passion’s strife,

And the great stream of history

Glide on before the musing eye.

There, row on row, the gazers rise;

Above, look down the arching skies;

O’er all those gathered multitudes

Such deep and voiceful silence broods,

Methinks one mighty heart I hear

Beat high with hope, or quake with fear;—

E’en so yon groves and forests seem

Spectators of this rushing stream.

In sweeping, circling ranks they rise,

Beneath the blue o’erarching skies;

They crowd around and forward lean,

As eager to behold the scene,—

To see, proud river! sparkling wide,

The long procession of thy tide,—

To stand and gaze, and feel with thee

All thy unuttered ecstasy.

It seems as if a heart did thrill

Within yon forests, deep and still,

So soft and ghost-like is the sound

That stirs their solitudes profound.