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POEMS.

THE BRIDAL OF PENNACOOK. 1

We had been wandering for many days Through the rough northern country. We had seen The sunset, with its bars of purple cloud, Like a new heaven, shine upward from the lake Of Winnepiseogee; and had felt The sunrise breezes, midst the leafy isles Which stoop their summer beauty to the lips Of the bright waters. We had checked our steeds, Silent with wonder, where the mountain wall Is piled to heaven; and, through the narrow rift Of the vast rocks, against whose rugged feet Beats the mad torrent with perpetual roar, Where noonday is as twilight, and the wind Comes burdened with the everlasting moan Of forests and of far-off water-falls, We had looked upward where the summer sky, Tasselled with clouds light-woven by the sun, Sprung its blue arch above the abutting crags O’er-roofing the vast portal of the land Beyond the wall of mountains. We had passed The high source of the Saco; and bewildered · In the dwarf spruce-belts of the Crystal Hills Had heard above us, like a voice in the cloud, The horn of Fabyan sounding; and atop Of old Agioochook had seen the mountains Piled to the northward, shagged with wood, and thick As meadow mole hills—the far sea of Casco,

A white gleam on the horizon of the east;
Fair lakes, embosomed in the woods and hills ;
Moosehillock's mountain range, and Kearsarge
Lifting his Titan forehead to the sun!

And we had rested underneath the oaks
Shadowing the bank, whose grassy spires are

shaken
By the perpetual beating of the falls
Of the wild Ammonoosuc. We had tracked
The winding Pemigewasset, overhung
By beechen shadows, whitening down its rocks,
Or lazily gliding through its intervals,
From waving rye-fields sending up the gleam
Of sunlit waters. We had seen the moon
Rising behind Umbagog's eastern pines
Like a great Indian camp-fire; and its beams
At midnight spanning with a bridge of silver
The Merrimack by Uncanoonuc's falls.

There were five souls of us whom travel's chance
Had thrown together in these wild north hills :
A city lawyer, for a month escaping
From his dull office, where the weary eye
Saw only hot brick walls and close thronged

streets
Briefless as yet, but with an eye to see
Life's sunniest side, and with a heart to take
Its chances all as God-sends; and his brother,
Pale from long pulpit studies, yet retaining
The warmth and freshness of a genial heart,
Whose mirror of the beautiful and true,
In Man and Nature, was as yet undimmed
By dust of theologic strife, or breath
Of sect, or cobwebs of scholastic lore;
Like a clear crystal calm of water, taking
The hue and image of o’erleaning flowers,
Sweet human faces, white clouds of the noon,
Slant starlight glimpses through the dewy leaves,

And tenderest moonrise. 'Twas, in truth, a study,
To mark his spirit, alternating between
A decent and professional gravity
And an irreverent mirthfulness, which often
Laughed in the face of his divinity,
Plucked off the sacred ephod, quite unshrined
The oracle, and for the pattern priest
Left us the man. A shrewd, sagacious merchant,
To whom the soiled sheet found in Crawford's inn
Giving the latest news of city stocks
And sales of cotton had a deeper meaning
Than the great presence of the awful mountains
Glorified by the sunset;—and his daughter,
A delicate flower on whom had blown too long
Those evil winds, which, sweeping from the ice
And winnowing the fogs of Labrador,
Shed their cold blight round Massachusetts Bay,
With the same breath which stirs Spring's opening

leaves
And lifts her half-formed flower-bell on its stem,
Poisoning our sea-side atmosphere.

It chanced That as we turned upon our homeward way, A drear northeastern storm came howling up, The valley of the Saco; and that girl Who had stood with us upon Mount Washington, Her brown locks ruffled by the wind which whirled In gusts around its sharp cold pinnacle, Who had joined our gay trout-fishing in the streams Which lave that giant's feet; whose laugh was

heard Like a bird's carol on the sunrise breeze Which swelled our sail amidst the lake's green

islands, Shrank from its harsh, chill breath, and visibly

drooped Like a flower in the frost. So, in that quiet inn Which looks from Conway on the mountains piled

Heavily against the horizon of the north,
Like summer thunder-clouds, we made our home:
And while the mist hung over dripping hills,
And the cold wind-driven rain-drops, all day long
Beat their sad music upon roof and pane,
We strove to cheer our gentle invalid.
The lawyer in the pauses of the storm
Went angling down the Saco, and, returning,
Recounted his adventures and mishaps ;
Gave us the history of his scaly clients,
Mingling with ludicrous yet apt citations
Of barbarous law Latin, passages
From Izaak Walton's Angler, sweet and fresh
As the flower-skirted streams of Staffordshire
Where, under aged trees, the southwest wind
Of soft June mornings fanned the thin, white hair
Of the sage fisher. And, if truth be told,
Our youthful candidate forsook his sermons,
His commentaries, articles and creeds
For the fair page of human loveliness
The missal of young hearts, whose sacred text
Is music, its illumining sweet smiles.
He
sang
the

songs she loved; and in his low,
Deep earnest voice, recited many a page
Of poetry—the holiest, tenderest lines
Of the sad bard of Olney—the sweet songs,
Simple and beautiful as Truth and Nature,
Of him whose whitened locks on Rydal Mount
Are lifted yet by morning breezes blowing
From the green hills, immortal in his lays.
And for myself, obedient to her wish,
I searched our landlord's proffered library:
A. well-thumbed Bunyan, with its nice wood

pictures
Of scaly fiends and angels not unlike them-
Watts unmelodious psalms--Astrology's
Last home, a musty file of Almanacs,
And an old chronicle of border wars

And Indian history. And, as I read
A story of the marriage of the Chief
Of Saugus to the dusky Weetamoo,
Daughter of Passaconaway, who dwelt
In the old time upon Merrimack,
Our fair one, in the playful exercise
Of her prerogative—the right divine
Of youth and beauty,-bade us versify
The legend, and with ready pencil sketched
Its plan and outlines, laughingly assigning
To each his part, and barring our excuses
With absolute will. So, like the cavaliers
Wbose voices still are heard in the Romance
Of silver-tongued Boccaccio, on the banks
Of Arno, with soft tales of love beguiling
The ear of languid beauty, plague-exiled
From stately Florence, we rehearsed our rhymes
To their fair auditor, and shared by turns
Her kind approval and her playful censure.
It may be that these fragments owe alone
To the fair setting of their circumstances,
The associations of time, scene and audience-
Their place amid the pictures which fill up
The chambers of my memory. Yet I trust
That some, who sigh, while wandering in thought,
Pilgrims of Romance o'er the olden world,
That our broad land-our sea-like lakes and moun.

tains
Piled to the clouds,-our rivers overhung
By forests which have known no other change
For ages, than the budding and the fall
Of leaves-our valleys lovelier than those
Which the old poets sang of-should but figure
On the apocryphal chart of speculation
As pastures, wood-lots, mill-sites, with the privileges,
Rights and appurtenances, which make up
A Yankee Paradise—unsung, unknown,
To beautiful tradition ; even their names,

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