Mary Garvin

John Greenleaf Whittier

From the heart of Waumbek Methna, from the lake that never fails,
Falls the Saco in the green lap of Conway's intervales;
There, in wild and virgin freshness, its waters foam and flow,
As when Darby Field first saw them, two hundred years ago.

But, vexed in all its seaward course with bridges, dams, and mills,
How changed is Saco's stream, how lost its freedom of the hills,
Since travelled Jocelyn, factor Vines, and stately Champernoon
Heard on its banks the gray wolf's howl, the trumpet of the loon!

With smoking axle hot with speed, with steeds of fire and steam,
Wide-waked To-day leaves Yesterday behind him like a dream.
Still, from the hurrying train of Life, fly backward far and fast
The milestones of the fathers, the landmarks of the past.

But human hearts remain unchanged: the sorrow and the sin,
The loves and hopes and fears of old, are to our own akin;

And if, in tales our fathers told, the songs our mothers sung,
Tradition wears a snowy beard, Romance is always young.

O sharp-lined man of traffic, on Saco's banks today!
O mill-girl watching late and long the shuttle's restless play!
Let, for the once, a listening ear the working hand beguile,
And lend my old Provincial tale, as suits, a tear or smile!