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  Little Rivers Henry van Dyke

XI. A Song after Sundown

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"There's no music like a little river's. It plays the same tune (and that's the favourite) over and over again, and yet does not weary of it like men fiddlers. It takes the mind out of doors; and though we should be grateful for good houses, there is, after all, no house like god's out-of-doors. And lastly, sir, it quiets a man down like saying his prayers."--ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON: Prince Otto.


The moonbeams over Arno's vale in silver flood were pouring, When first I heard the nightingale a long-lost love deploring: So passionate, so full of pain, it sounded strange and eerie, I longed to hear a simpler strain, the wood-notes of the veery.

The laverock sings a bonny lay, above the Scottish heather, It sprinkles from the dome of day like light and love together; He drops the golden notes to greet his brooding mate, his dearie; I only know one song more sweet, the vespers of the veery.

In English gardens green and bright, and rich in fruity treasure, I've heard the blackbird with delight repeat his merry measure; The ballad was a lively one, the tune was loud and cheery, And yet with every setting sun I listened for the veery.

O far away, and far away, the tawny thrush is singing, New England woods at close of day with that clear chant are ringing; And when my light of life is low, and heart and flesh are weary, I fain would hear, before I go, the wood-notes of the veery.


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Little Rivers
Henry van Dyke

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