The Shadowed River.

From: The Bird and the Bell with Other Poems (1875)
Author: Christopher Pearse Cranch
Published: Osgood and Company 1875 Boston



IN the clear September moonlight
Dark the eastern mountains rise,
And the river calm as ever
One broad lake of silver lies.

Like a frame, the leafy garden
Clasps the dreamy picture round,
And I gaze for hours upon it,
By the spell of beauty bound.

O’er the water’s burnished mirror
Darkly glide the shadowed ships;
So the glowing past is shaded
By our sorrowing thoughts’ eclipse.

Bright, broad River! flow forever
In the moonlight to the sea;
But those joyous days thou never,
Never canst bring back to me.

See, the frame the leafy garden
Arches round the pictured scene,
Like a cypress wreath is growing
Dark,— too dark for this, I ween.

He who wreathed the lovely landscape
With these green and shady bowers,
Taken from us, went forever
With his fleeting garden flowers.

And_ the lawn beneath the linden,
And the shrubs and vines so green,
And the fragrant beds of roses,
And the winding paths between,

And the house in beauty bowered,
Rare in beauty of its own,
Ne’er again may hear the music
Of those clays forever flown;

Ne’er again shall hear the laughter
Of the joyous company
Whom the festal days of summer
Crowned with mirth and melody.

Silent River, sadly flowing!
Shadowed sails like thoughts of pain
Slowly cross thy gleaming silver,
But they catch the light again.

Darkly bend the mountains o’er thee,
Dim and dusky in the night,
But their summits woo the moonbeams,
And are touched with heavenly light.

Life is rich, and nature lavish;
Providence is large as Fate:
Many a joy they hide in secret
For the lone and desolate.

After sunset clouds of crimson;
After twilight comes the moon;
After moon-set still the starlight;
Still the morning’s daily boon.

And the cloud that lowers the darkest
Holds the blessing of the rain;
And the grief that stuns the deepest
Hath another touch than pain.

NEWBURGH ON THE HUDSON, September, 1852.

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