Longings For Home

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 Sabine;
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 Okeechobee - 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 blossoming 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 flowers;
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 slave 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 Tennessee 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;
An Arkansas prairie - a sleeping lake, or still bayou;
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!