06 November 2013

The Banks of the Tennessee

By Rev. C.H.A. Bulkley.
The wild duck is dipping his glossy wing,
And cooling his heeated breast
In the waters that backward his image fling,
As he floats in his liquid rest;
He skimmeth along in the wavelet's glow,
With a fisher's quiet glee,
Or seeketh his mate in the reeds that grow
On the banks of the Tennessee
The swallow flits by with his spear-like wing
That pierceth the wave's smooth crest,
And catching a drop in his bill to bring
To the fledglings athirst in his nest;
And like him the birds that reposed all night,
'Neath the curtains of every tree,
And trilling their music in mating flight
O'er the banks of the Tennessee.
The lowing herds, driv'n bu summer's hot ray
Descring the meadow's so green,
Cool their lips in the tide where they stand midway,
All heedless of noon's burning sheenl
Their image invested in rich beauty glows,
With the branches of bush and tree,
And they sniff the soft breeze that in freshness blows
O'er the banks of the Tennessee.
The fisher-boy marks from the pebbly shore
The ripples that circle his line,
In fancy beholding a bountiful store
Of fish in his basket shine
He whissleth and singeth of thought is lack,
And lists to his own melody,
In many an echo that floweth back
From the banks of the Tennessee.
Away o'er the dimly-receding tide
The precipice loftly shines,
Like a monarch with garment and crown of pride,
In the verdure of evergreen pines;
At its deep rocky base, like tents that glow,
With their banners in sun-light free,
The wind-stirred water in stillness flow,
By the banks of the Tennessee.
The deep chasms reach from their cloudy heights,
And circle that river's course,
Like bulwarks created by hands of might,
To shield it from hostile force;
The rocky bars stretch like an iron chain,
Where the currents so wildly flee,
Till their musical rapids ring on a full strain,
On the banks of the Tennessee.
Oh! sweet are the fields that in verdure bright
With their billows of grain oft gleam,
And stretch far away in the rich sunlight,
From the shores of that radiant stream;
And sweet are the forests where branches breathe
The winds from the flowering lea,
As freshly and purely their chaplets they wreathe
On the banks of the Tennessee
Sweet, too, is the cot where my heart has its home
With the loved on its life to beam,
Amid the green woods where I revel and roam
By the banks of that beautiful stream;
Then while the blest billows of life still flow,
Oh! There let my dwelling be,
With loved ones still smiling in love's own glow
On the banks of the Tennessee.
January 21, 1851. Fayetteville Observer 1(3): 1.