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

New England: Boston, Mass.


By Henry Theodore Tuckerman (1813–1871)

THROUGH Time’s dim atmosphere, behold

Those ancient hills again,

Rising to Fancy’s eager view

In solitude, as when

Beneath the summer firmament,

So silently of yore,

The shadow of each passing cloud

Their rugged bosoms bore!

They sloped in pathless grandeur then

Down to the murmuring sea,

And rose upon the woodland plain

In lonely majesty.

The breeze, at noontide, whispered soft

Their emerald knolls among,

And midnight’s wind, amid their heights,

Its wildest dirges sung.

As on their brow the forest-king

Paused in his weary way,

From far below his quick ear caught

The moaning of the bay;

The dry leaves, fanned by autumn’s breath,

Along their ridges crept;

And snow-wreaths, like storm-whitened waves,

Around them rudely swept.

For ages, o’er their swelling sides,

Grew the wild flowers of spring,

And stars smiled down, and dew-founts poured

Their gentle offering.

The moonbeams played upon their peaks,

And at their feet the tide;

And thus, like altar-mounts, they stood,

By nature sanctified.

Now, when to mark their beacon-forms

The seaman turns his gaze,

It quails, as roof and spire and dome

Flash in the sun’s bright rays.

On those wild hills a thousand homes

Are reared in proud array,

And argosies float safely o’er

That lone and isle-gemmed bay.

Those shadowy mounds, so long untrod,

By countless feet are pressed;

And hosts of loved ones meekly sleep

Below their teeming breast.

A world’s unnumbered voices float

Within their narrow bound;

Love’s gentle tone, and traffic’s hum,

And music’s thrilling sound.

There Liberty first found a tongue

Beneath New England’s sky,

And there her earliest martyrs stood,

And nerved themselves to die.

And long upon these ancient hills,

By glory’s light enshrined,

May rise the dwellings of the free,

The city of the mind.