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

Middle States: Weehawken, N. J.


By Fitz-Greene Halleck (1790–1867)

(From Fanny)

WEEHAWKEN! in thy mountain scenery yet,

All we adore of Nature in her wild

And frolic hour of infancy is met;

And never has a summer’s morning smiled

Upon a lovelier scene than the full eye

Of the enthusiast revels on, when high

Amid thy forest solitudes, he climbs

O’er crags that proudly tower above the deep,

And knows that sense of danger which sublimes

The breathless moment, when his daring step

Is on the verge of the cliff, and he can hear

The low dash of the wave with startled ear,

Like the death-music of his coming doom,

And clings to the green turf with desperate force,

As the heart clings to life; and when resume

The currents in his veins their wonted course,

There lingers a deep feeling, like the moan

Of wearied ocean when the storm is gone.

In such an hour he turns, and on his view

Ocean and earth and heaven burst before him.

Clouds slumbering at his feet, and the clear blue

Of Summer’s sky, in beauty bending o’er him,—

The city bright below; and far away,

Sparkling in golden light, his own romantic bay.

Tall spire, and glittering roof, and battlement,

And banners floating in the sunny air;

And white sails o’er the calm blue waters bent,

Green isle and circling shore, are blended there,

In wild reality. When life is old,

And many a scene forgot, the heart will hold

Its memory of this; nor lives there one

Whose infant breath was drawn, or boyhood’s days

Of happiness were passed beneath that sun,

That in his manhood’s prime can calmly gaze

Upon that bay or on that mountain stand,

Nor feel the prouder of his native land.