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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.

Savoy: Arve, the River

To the River Arve

By William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878)

NOT from the sands or cloven rocks

Thou rapid Arve! thy waters flow;

Nor earth within its bosom locks

Thy dark, unfathomed wells below.

Thy springs are in the cloud, thy stream

Begins to move and murmur first

Where ice-peaks feel the noonday beam,

Or rain-storms on the glacier burst.

Born where the thunder and the blast,

And morning’s earliest light are born,

Thou rushest swoln, and loud, and fast,

By these low homes, as if in scorn:

Yet humbler springs yield purer waves;

And brighter, glassier streams than thine,

Sent up from earth’s unlighted caves,

With heaven’s own beam and image shine.

Yet stay! for here are flowers and trees;

Warm rays on cottage roofs are here,

And laugh of girls, and hum of bees,—

Here linger till thy waves are clear.

Thou heedest not, thou hastest on;

From steep to steep thy torrent falls,

Till, mingling with the mighty Rhone,

It rests beneath Geneva’s walls.

Rush on,—but were there one with me

That loved me, I would light my hearth

Here, where with God’s own majesty

Are touched the features of the earth.

By these old peaks, white, high, and vast,

Still rising as the tempests beat,

Here would I dwell, and sleep, at last,

Among the blossoms at their feet.