Verse > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow > Complete Poetical Works
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882).  Complete Poetical Works.  1893.
 
Birds of Passage
Flight the Fourth.
Songo River
 
          Songo River is a winding stream which connects Lake Sebago with Long Lake in Cumberland County, Maine. Among the early literary plans of Mr. Longfellow was one for a prose tale, the scene of which was to be laid near Lake Sebago. This poem was written September 18, 1875, after a visit to the river in the summer then closing.

NOWHERE such a devious stream,
Save in fancy or in dream,
Winding slow through bush brake,
Links together lake and lake.
 
Walled with woods or sandy shelf,        5
Ever doubling on itself
Flows the stream, so still and slow
That it hardly seems to flow.
 
Never errant knight of old,
Lost in woodland or on wold,        10
Such a winding path pursued
Through the sylvan solitude.
 
Never school-boy, in his quest
After hazel-nut or nest,
Through the forest in and out        15
Wandered loitering thus about.
 
In the mirror of its tide
Tangled thickets on each side
Hang inverted, and between
Floating cloud or sky serene.        20
 
Swift or swallow on the wing
Seems the only living thing,
Or the loon, that laughs and flies
Down to those reflected skies.
 
Silent stream! thy Indian name        25
Unfamiliar is to fame;
For thou hidest here alone,
Well content to be unknown.
 
But thy tranquil waters teach
Wisdom deep as human speech,        30
Moving without haste or noise
In unbroken equipoise.
 
Though thou turnest no busy mill,
And art ever calm and still,
Even thy silence seems to say        35
To the traveller on his way:—
 
“Traveller, hurrying from the heat
Of the city, stay thy feet!
Rest awhile, nor longer waste
Life with inconsiderate haste!        40
 
“Be not like a stream that brawls
Loud with shallow waterfalls,
But in quiet self-control
Link together soul and soul.”
 
 
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