Where is the bard, O river grand and old,
That has thy praises sung, thy beauties told,
In measures lofty as the mighty pride
That lingers in thy deep and flowing tide?
And where the echoing measures low and sweet
That should thine own faint rippling songs repeat?
The eyes of nature ever turned on thee
Watch o'er thy restless wandering to the sea;
The rosy morn awakes thee from thy sleep;
Along thy dusky waves her glances creep,
And o'er the weird dark shadows of the night
She spreads her sunny robes of morning light.
The yellow noon comes too, with fiery eyes,
And all unwept the dewy morning dies;
Thy waters run in waves of rippling gold,
And all the rivers sacred deemed of old
Are not so grand as thee, nor yet so fair.
Amid the mists that fill the evening air
The sun droops low his golden head and dies,
Yet in thy depths his last glance ling'ring lies
and lights it with a royal purple glow;
Anon into a splendor falling low
Of crimson stains and gleams of molten gold
It changes, like great waves of fire rolled
Across the sky.
The moon caresses thee
With rays of silver light as to the sea
Thy dark waves glide; and shadows long and wide
Reflect grim images within thy tide.
Pale stars that wander through the trackless skies
All night, glance in thy depths with glowing eyes,
And like a stream of silver flecked with gold
Thy waters run.
O river, proud and old,
From snow-bound shores thy dark waves loosened run
To mingle with the waters of the sun;
And lo! from North and South, from East and West,
Companions come to aid thee in thy quest.
Along thy shores great cities stately stand,
Sprung up beneath thy kindly welcoming hand;
Proud commerce lives upon thy sweeping tide
And palaces upon thy bosom glide.
O Mississippi, monarch of the West,
What daring hand can quell thy proud unrest?
What human pen can paint thee as thou art,
The loved, the pride of every free-born heart?
Thou symbol of a nation strong and free,
Whose throne is on the land and on the sea!
What power is thine, what might is unto thee!
Though men shall die, thy waters still will be.