The Concord, Bedford, And Billerica Meadows We Had Heard No
Murmur From Its Stream, Except Where Some Tributary Runnel
Tumbled In, -
Some tumultuous little rill,
Purling round its storied pebble,
Tinkling to the selfsame tune,
From September until June,
Which no drought doth e'er enfeeble.
Silent flows the parent stream,
And if rocks do lie below,
Smothers with her waves the din,
As it were a youthful sin,
Just as still, and just as slow.
But now at length we heard this staid and primitive river rushing
to her fall, like any rill. We here left its channel, just above
the Billerica Falls, and entered the canal, which runs, or rather
is conducted, six miles through the woods to the Merrimack, at
Middlesex, and as we did not care to loiter in this part of our
voyage, while one ran along the tow-path drawing the boat by a
cord, the other kept it off the shore with a pole, so that we
accomplished the whole distance in little more than an hour.
This canal, which is the oldest in the country, and has even an
antique look beside the more modern railroads, is fed by the
Concord, so that we were still floating on its familiar waters.
It is so much water which the river _lets_ for the advantage of
commerce. There appeared some want of harmony in its scenery,
since it was not of equal date with the woods and meadows through
which it is led, and we missed the conciliatory influence of time
on land and water; but in the lapse of ages, Nature will recover
and indemnify herself, and gradually plant fit shrubs and flowers
along its borders.
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