Here you will find the Long Poem Haverhill of poet John Greenleaf Whittier
1640-1890. O river winding to the sea! We call the old time back to thee; From forest paths and water-ways The century-woven veil we raise. The voices of to-day are dumb, Unheard its sounds that go and come; We listen, through long-lapsing years, To footsteps of the pioneers. Gone steepled town and cultured plain, The wilderness returns again, The drear, untrodden solitude, The gloom and mystery of the wood! Once more the bear and panther prowl, The wolf repeats his hungry howl, And, peering through his leafy screen, The Indian's copper face is seen. We see, their rude-built huts beside, Grave men and women anxious-eyed, And wistful youth remembering still Dear homes in England's Haverhill. We summon forth to mortal view Dark Passaquo and Saggahew,-- Wild chiefs, who owned the mighty sway Of wizard Passaconaway. Weird memories of the border town, By old tradition handed down, In chance and change before us pass Like pictures in a magic glass,-- The terrors of the midnight raid, The-death-concealing ambuscade, The winter march, through deserts wild, Of captive mother, wife, and child. Ah! bleeding hands alone subdued And tamed the savage habitude Of forests hiding beasts of prey, And human shapes as fierce as they. Slow from the plough the woods withdrew, Slowly each year the corn-lands grew; Nor fire, nor frost, nor foe could kill The Saxon energy of will. And never in the hamlet's bound Was lack of sturdy manhood found, And never failed the kindred good Of brave and helpful womanhood. That hamlet now a city is, Its log-built huts are palaces; The wood-path of the settler's cow Is Traffic's crowded highway now. And far and wide it stretches still, Along its southward sloping hill, And overlooks on either hand A rich and many-watered land. And, gladdening all the landscape, fair As Pison was to Eden's pair, Our river to its valley brings The blessing of its mountain springs. And Nature holds with narrowing space, From mart and crowd, her old-time grace, And guards with fondly jealous arms The wild growths of outlying farms. Her sunsets on Kenoza fall, Her autumn leaves by Saltonstall; No lavished gold can richer make Her opulence of hill and lake. Wise was the choice which led out sires To kindle here their household fires, And share the large content of all Whose lines in pleasant places fall. More dear, as years on years advance, We prize the old inheritance, And feel, as far and wide we roam, That all we seek we leave at home. Our palms are pines, our oranges Are apples on our orchard trees; Our thrushes are our nightingales, Our larks the blackbirds of our vales. No incense which the Orient burns Is sweeter than our hillside ferns; What tropic splendor can outvie Our autumn woods, our sunset sky? If, where the slow years came and went, And left not affluence, but content, Now flashes in our dazzled eyes The electric light of enterprise; And if the old idyllic ease Seems lost in keen activities, And crowded workshops now replace The hearth's and farm-field's rustic grace; No dull, mechanic round of toil Life's morning charm can quite despoil; And youth and beauty, hand in hand, Will always find enchanted land. No task is ill where hand and brain And skill and strength have equal gain, And each shall each in honor hold, And simple manhood outweigh gold. Earth shall be near to Heaven when all That severs man from man shall fall, For, here or there, salvation's plan Alone is love of God and man. O dwellers by the Merrimac, The heirs of centuries at your back, Still reaping where you have not sown, A broader field is now your own. Hold fast your Puritan heritage, But let the free thought of the age Its light and hope and sweetness add To the stern faith the fathers had. Adrift on Time's returnless tide, As waves that follow waves, we glide. God grant we leave upon the shore Some waif of good it lacked before; Some seed, or flower, or plant of worth, Some added beauty to the earth; Some larger hope, some thought to make The sad world happier for its sake. As tenants of uncertain stay, So may we live our little day That only grateful hearts shall fill The homes we leave in Haverhill. The singer of a farewell rhyme, Upon whose outmost verge of time The shades of night are falling down, I pray, God bless the good old town!