Poetry

I Have Made a Voyage Upon a Golden River by Julia Ward Howe


This poem was written when Ms. Howe was 89-91 years old (1908-1910), surely one of her last before death. It was published in her daughters’ biography, Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910), which earned Laura E. Richards and Maud Howe Elliott the Pulitzer Prize in 1917. Ms. Howe’s work seemed to have gotten better with age.
An illustration for the story I Have Made a Voyage Upon a Golden River by the author Julia Ward Howe
Carl Gustav Carus, River near Rosental near Leipzig, 1838-40
I have made a voyage upon a golden river,
‘Neath clouds of opal and of amethyst.
Along its banks bright shapes were moving ever,
And threatening shadows melted into mist.

The eye, unpractised, sometimes lost the current,
When some wild rapid of the tide did whirl,
While yet a master hand beyond the torrent
Freed my frail shallop from the perilous swirl.

Music went with me, fairy flute and viol,
The utterance of fancies half expressed,
And with these, steadfast, beyond pause or trial,
The deep, majestic throb of Nature’s breast.

My journey nears its close—in some still haven
My bark shall find its anchorage of rest,
When the kind hand, which ever good has given,
Opening with wider grace, shall give the best.

HydraGT

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