Bronx

Original Text: 
Joseph Rodman Drake, The Culprit Fay and Other Poems (New York: George Dearborn, 1835): 75-77. Internet Archive
2    Skirting the smooth edge of a gentle river,
3Whose waters seemed unwillingly to glide,
4    Like parting friends who linger while they sever;
5Enforced to go, yet seeming still unready,
6    Backward they wind their way in many a wistful eddy.
7Gray o'er my head the yellow-vested willow
8    Ruffled its hoary top in the fresh breezes,
9Glancing in light, like spray on a green billow,
10    Or the fine frost-work which young winter freezes;
11When first his power in infant pastime trying,
12Congeals sad autumn's tears on the dead branches lying.
13From rocks around hung the loose ivy dangling,
14    And in the clefts sumach of liveliest green,
15Bright ising-stars the little beach was spangling,
16    The gold-cup sorrel from his gauzy screen
18Left on some morn, when light flashed in their eyes
19        unheeded.
21    The bluefinch caroll'd in the still retreat;
22The antic squirrel capered on the ground
23    Where lichens made a carpet for his feet:
25Shot up in glimmering sparks his red fin's tiny twinkle.
26There were dark cedars with loose mossy tresses,
28Gaudy as rustics in their May-day dresses,
30A modest gaze, like eyes of a young maiden
31Shining beneath dropt lids the evening of her wedding.
32The breeze fresh springing from the lips of morn,
33    Kissing the leaves, and sighing so to lose 'em,
34The winding of the merry locust's horn,
35    The glad spring gushing from the rock's bare bosom:
36Sweet sights, sweet sounds, all sights, all sounds excelling,
37Oh! 'twas a ravishing spot formed for a poet's dwelling.
38And did I leave thy loveliness, to stand
39    Again in the dull world of earthly blindness?
40Pained with the pressure of unfriendly hands,
41    Sick of smooth looks, agued with icy kindness?
42Left I for this thy shades, where none intrude,
43To prison wandering thought and mar sweet solitude?
44Yet I will look upon thy face again,
45    My own romantic Bronx, and it will be
46A face more pleasant than the face of men.
47    Thy waves are old companions, I shall see
48A well-remembered face in each old tree,
49And hear a voice long loved in thy sweet minstrelsy.

Notes

1] Bronx: the only fresh-water river in New York City, flowing through the Bronix and emptying in the East River.. Back to Line
17] enchased: insert in a setting, as a jewel. Back to Line
20] hum-bird: humming bird. Back to Line
24] minkle: minnow. Back to Line
27] dog-trees: dogwood. Back to Line
29] pelloret: not in OED. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: 
2012
Rhyme: 
Form: