The Kanawha

Lewis Ringe

Nature's lover, pause to see,
Where Kanawha wanders free;
Nature in her wrildest mood,
Mid her grandest solitude;
With her mountains thronged around,
Listening to the torrent's sound;
Hill and valley, rock and floods,
Waving with eternal woods:
Here the earth-cloud lowly creeping.
There along the summit sleeping;
Here the cliff uplifting high
Its bold forehead to the sky,
There, like a gigantic lover,
Bending with devotion over
The coy river, swift and clear,—
A gay, bounding mountaineer.
Now it winds away, away,
Sporting with its jewelled spray;
Now it seems to woo your feet,
But, ah! trust not the deceit;
Shrub and pebble though they seem,
Rock and forest guard the stream.
E'en the Grecian lover's leap
Never tempted such a steep,
Where the hawkling far below
Nestles 'neath the beetling brow;
While along yon craggy bed
Lurks the vengeful copperhead,
And the avalanche of rock
Poises for an earthquake-shock.
All is fresh, sublime, and wild,
As when first by Nature piled,
Ere the white-man wandered here,
Or the red-man chased the deer, —
Naming, ere he fled forever,
This, his own Romantic River.