Skip to main content

O Magnet-South.

Part of the cluster FROM NOON TO STARRY NIGHT.


O MAGNET-SOUTH! O glistening perfumed South! my South! O quick mettle, rich blood, impulse and love! good and evil! O  
 all dear to me!
O dear to me my birth-things—all moving things and the trees  
 where I was born—the grains, plants, rivers,
Dear to me my own slow sluggish rivers where they flow, distant,  
 over flats of silvery sands or through swamps,
Dear to me the Roanoke, the Savannah, the Altamahaw, the  
 Pedee, the Tombigbee, the Santee, the Coosa and the  
  [ begin page 360 ]ppp.01663.366.jpg O pensive, far away wandering, I return with my soul to haunt  
 their banks again,
Again in Florida I float on transparent lakes, I float on the Okee- 
 chobee, I cross the hummock-land or through pleasant  
 openings or dense forests,
I see the parrots in the woods, I see the papaw-tree and the blos- 
 soming titi;
Again, sailing in my coaster on deck, I coast off Georgia, I coast  
 up the Carolinas,
I see where the live-oak is growing, I see where the yellow-pine,  
 the scented bay-tree, the lemon and orange, the cypress,  
 the graceful palmetto,
I pass rude sea-headlands and enter Pamlico sound through an  
 inlet, and dart my vision inland;
O the cotton plant! the growing fields of rice, sugar, hemp! The cactus guarded with thorns, the laurel-tree with large white  
The range afar, the richness and barrenness, the old woods  
 charged with mistletoe and trailing moss,
The piney odor and the gloom, the awful natural stillness, (here  
 in these dense swamps the freebooter carries his gun, and  
 the fugitive has his conceal'd hut;)
O the strange fascination of these half-known half-impassable  
 swamps, infested by reptiles, resounding with the bellow  
 of the alligator, the sad noises of the night-owl and the  
 wild-cat, and the whirr of the rattlesnake,
The mocking-bird, the American mimic, singing all the forenoon,  
 singing through the moon-lit night,
The humming-bird, the wild turkey, the raccoon, the opossum; A Kentucky corn-field, the tall, graceful, long-leav'd corn, slender,  
 flapping, bright green, with tassels, with beautiful ears each  
 well-sheath'd in its husk;
O my heart! O tender and fierce pangs, I can stand them not, I  
 will depart;
O to be a Virginian where I grew up! O to be a Carolinian! O longings irrepressible! O I will go back to old Tennessee and  
 never wander more.

Part of the cluster FROM NOON TO STARRY NIGHT.

Back to top