Thursday, October 7, 2010

Song - To the Muskingum

For the Marietta Intelligencer, January 4, 1844

To the Muskingum
                  Tune - Flow Gently Sweet Afton

Roll, gently, Muskingum, thy low banks along!
Sing softly, sweet Elk-Eye, thy own choral song!
I hear the blue wave of thy bright chrystal stream,
It sounds like the music we hear in a dream.

The Lark on thy banks, tunes his shrill matin lay,
In accents so gladsome, so sportive and gay.
The Mountains thy echoing murmurs repeat.
In cadence, so soothing, so chastened, and sweet.

How oft do I roam 'neath the shade on thy shore,
Whose long evening shadows have pictured thee o'er;
And thrill'd with thy beauty, thy borders of green,
Where glimpses of Heaven, through green boughs are seen.

I watch on thy margin, thy shade trees among,
Thy blue wave in majesty rolling along.
Hear, mild whistling warblers, attune their last lay,
In requiem notes to the Lord of the day.

And think of the Ages - the year upon year,
When none but the Red Man & fleet bounding deer,
Knew aught of the charms which thy bosom contains,
Or the green leafy copses which mantled thy plains.

When thy smooth flowing current, no rippling ee'r knew,
From aught but the winds, and the fragile canoe,
When no lengthened bulwarks thy windings impede,
Through pathways untrodden, thy waters to lead.

Whose rampart of hills & whose shores forest crown'd,
Had, yet by no venturous woodman been found,
Whose Trunk-trellised tops & whose columns of old,
Might, Legends- time-honor'd, & hallow'd have told.

But thy shades song-resounding - where, where are they now?
Their green plumes majestic have long ceased to bow,
And the waves of gold sheeting that burnished their leaves,
Now, gild where they once stood, the Husbandman's sheaves.

Those spirits, where are they whose voice with wild fear
Oft startled thy songsters and light sandal'd Deer?
Gone - gone are they all, scarce a vestige remains,
Of all that thou once deemed the pride of thy plains.

But thy landscapes appear in their verdure extoll'd,
With their mantles of velvet, and blossoms of gold,
Though in majesty less - yet their beauty transcends,
The sombre enchantment thy forest shade lends.

Thou gem amongst Rivers, -roll on, and rejoice!
Whilst valley, and mountains, re-echo thy voice!
Exult, in the change that has snatch'd thee away
From the dark, lurid wilderness that over thee lay!

And embellished thy borders with cities and spires,
All, that commerce bespeaks, all that learning requires.
Adorned thee with Temples - and pathways well trod
By those who go up to the worship of God.


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