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

Middle States: Weehawken, N. J.


By Robert Charles Sands (1799–1832)

EVE o’er our path is stealing fast;

Yon quivering splendors are the last

The sun will fling, to tremble o’er

The waves that kiss the opposing shore;

His latest glories fringe the height

Behind us, with their golden light.

The mountain’s mirrored outline fades

Amid the fast-extending shades;

Its shaggy bulk, in sterner pride,

Towers, as the gloom steals o’er the tide;

For the great stream a bulwark meet

That leaves its rock-encumbered feet.

River and mountain! though to song

Not yet, perchance, your names belong;

Those who have loved your evening hues

Will ask not the recording Muse

What antique tales she can relate,

Your banks and steeps to consecrate.

Yet, should the stranger ask what lore

Of bygone days this winding shore,

Yon cliffs and fir-clad steeps, could tell,

If vocal made by Fancy’s spell,—

The varying legend might rehearse

Fit themes for high, romantic verse.

O’er yon rough heights and moss-clad sod

Oft hath the stalworth warrior trod;

Or peered, with hunter’s gaze, to mark

The progress of the glancing bark.

Spoils, strangely won on distant waves,

Have lurked in yon obstructed caves.

When the great strife for Freedom rose,

Here scouted oft her friends and foes

Alternate, through the changeful war,

And beacon-fires flashed bright and far;

And here, when Freedom’s strife was won,

Fell, in sad feud, her favored son,—

Her son, the second of the band,

The Romans of the rescued land.

Where round yon capes the banks ascend,

Long shall the pilgrim’s footsteps bend;

There mirthful hearts shall pause to sigh,

There tears shall dim the patriot’s eye.

There last he stood. Before his sight

Flowed the fair river, free and bright;

The rising mart, and isles, and bay,

Before him in their glory lay,—

Scenes of his love and of his fame,—

The instant ere the death-shot came.