Wide and far the woods extend,
Leaf-laden branches graceful bend;
The old oaks, like great tents, outspread
Their verdant canopies o'erhead;
The fir, the hemlock, and the pine
Their interlacing shoots entwine;
The cypress of the swampy glade
Enweaves a dark impervious shade;
The slender willows stoop to lave
Their tassels in the rushing wave;
The chestnuts cast their treasures down,
Their opening burrs, their nuts of brown;
And thick the clusters of the grape
With purple wealth the alders drape,
And on the forest kings unfold
Their draperies of green and gold.
Each river, each transparent stream,
Amid the woodland vistas gleam;
They toss with foam where rocks impede
The arrowy swiftness of their speed;
They glide with smooth, unruffled sweep
Where flow their currents dusk and deep,
And fathomless abysses hide
The sand and shells that pave the tide.
Now deep in forest glooms the deer
Bound in exultant, swift career;
They leave the covert of the glade
When earliest rosy dawns invade;
They pause to nibble the sweet grass,
In bosky dale, in mountain-pass;
They stop to drink the sparkling fount
That trickles from the rocky mount,
Or lie at noontide to repose
Where tall the fern luxuriant grows;
But when the yelpings of the hound
Athwart the sleeping shades resound,
And when the hunter's whooping cheer
And winding horn rise near and clear,
Quick from their sheltering haunts they spring,
And fly like fleet birds on the wing.
Forest and Stream! I love to trace
Your inmost depths, your watery race;
I love your dense, primeval shade,
O forest monarch! to invade.
I love, O grand, majestic Stream!
To wander where your ripples gleam,
To plunge beneath your ice-cold breast;
To seek the wild-fowl that infest
Your wooded shores; to spread the sail
In gusty breeze or howling gale;
To take the springing trout that skim
Your face, or in abysses swim;
In storm, in calm, in shade, in shine,
My heart, my steps to thee incline.
No haunts of earth so fair I deem
As Forest-side and banks of Stream!