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[" The Indians epcak of a beautiful river, far to the South, which they call Merrimack." — Sieub Db Moots: 1604.]
Stream of my fathers! sweetly still
The sunset rays thy valley fill;
Poured slantwise down the long defile,
Wave, wood, and spire beneath them smile.
I see the winding Powow fold
The green hill in its belt of gold,
And following down its wavy line,
Its sparkling waters blend with thine.
There's not a tree upon thy side,
Nor rock, which thy returning tide
As yet hath left abrupt and stark
Above thy evening water-mark;
No calm cove with its rocky hem,
No isle whose emerald swells begem
Thy broad, smooth current; not a sail
Bowed to the freshening ocean gale;
No small boat with its busy oars,
Nor gray wall sloping to thy shores;
Nor farm-house with its maple shade,
Or rigid poplar colonnade,
But lies distinct and full in sight,
Beneath this gush of sunset light.
Centuries ago, that harbor-bar,
Stretching its length of foam afar,
And Salisbury's beach of shining sand,
And yonder island's wave-smoothed strand,
Saw the adventurer's tiny sail
Flit, stooping from the eastern gale ;•
And o'er these woods and waters broke
The cheer from Britain's hearts of oak,
As brightly on the voyager's eye,
Weary of forest, sea, and sky,
Breaking the dull continuous wood,
The Merrimack rolled down his flood;
Mingling that clear pellucid brook,
Which channels vast Agioochook
When spring-time's sun and shower unlock
The frozen fountains of the rock,
And more abundant waters given
From that pure lake, "The Smile of Heaven," f
Tributes from vale and mountain side —
With ocean's dark, eternal tide!
On yonder rocky cape, which braves
* The celebrated Captain Smith, after resigning the government of the colony in Virginia, in his capacity of "Admiral of New England," made a careful survey of tho coast from Penobscot to Cape Cod, in the summer of 1614.
tLake Winnipiseogee— The SmSe of the Great Spirit—the source of one of the branches of the Merrimack.
t Capt. Smith gave to the promontory, now called Cape Ann, the name of
Of her, the flower of Islam's daughters,
But look ! — the yellow light no more
Home of my fathers ! — I have stood
Where Hudson rolled his lordly flood:
Seen sunrise rest and sunset fade
Along his frowning Palisade;
Looked down the Appalachian peak
On Juniata's silver streak;
Have seen along his valley gleam
The Mohawk's softly winding stream;
The level light of sunset shine
Through broad Potomac's hem of pine;
And autnmn's rainbow-tinted banner
Hang lightly o'er the Susquehanna;
Yet, wheresoe'er his step might be,
Thy wandering child looked back to thee!
Tragabizanda, in memory of his young and beautiful mistress of that name, who, while he was a captive at Constantinople, like Desdemona, "loved him for the dangers he had passed."
Heard in his dreams thy river's sound
[some three or four years since, a fragment of a statue, rudely chiseled from dark gray stone, was found in the town of Bradford, on the Merrimack. Its origin mast be left entirely to conjecture. The fact that the ancient Northmen visited New England, some centuries before the discoveries of Columbus, is now very generally admitted.]
Gift from the cold and silent Past!
A relic to the present cast;
Left on the ever-changing strand
Of shifting and unstable sand,
Which wastes beneath the steady chime
And beating of the waves of Time!
Who from its bed of primal rock
First wrenched thy dark, unshapely block?
Whose hand, of curious skill untaught,
Thy rude and savage outline wrought?
The waters of my native stream