Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE RIVER, by RALPH WALDO EMERSON

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THE RIVER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Awed I behold once more
Last Line: And soon may give my dust their funeral shade.
Subject(s): Children; Growth; Nature; Rivers; Trees; Childhood

Awed I behold once more
My old familiar haunts; here the blue river
The same blue wonder that my infant eye
Admired, sage doubting whence the traveller came, --
Whence he brought his sunny bubbles ere he washed
The fragrant flag roots in my father's fields,
And where thereafter in the world he went.
Look, here he is unaltered, save that now
He hath broke his banks & flooded all the vales
With his redundant waves.

Here is the rock where yet a simple child
I caught with bended pin my earliest fish,
Much triumphing, -- And these fields
Over whose flowers I chased the butterfly,
A blooming hunter of a fairy fine.
And hark! where overhead the ancient crows
Hold their sour conversation in the sky.
These are the same, but I am not the same.
But wiser than I was, & wise enough
Not to regret the changes, tho' they cost
Me many a sigh. Oh call not Nature dumb;
These trees & stones are audible to me,
These idle flowers, that tremble in the wind,
I understand their faery syllables,
And all their sad significance. This wind,
That rustles down the well-known forest road --
It hath a sound more eloquent than speech.
The stream, the trees, the grass, the sighing wind,
All of them utter sounds of admonishment
And grave parental love.

They are not of our race, they seem to say,
And yet have knowledge of majestic sympathy,
Something of pity for the puny clay,
That holds & boasts the immeasurable mind.

I feel as if I were welcome to these trees
After long months of weary wandering,
Acknowledged by their hospitable boughs;
They know me as their son, for side by side,
They were coeval with my ancestors,
Adorned with them my country's primitive times,
And soon may give my dust their funeral shade.

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