Whittier Walking in Lowell in Better Weather

“One fine morning, not long ago, I strolled down the Merrimac, on the Tewksbury shore. I know of no walk in the vicinity of Lowell so inviting as that along the margin of the river for nearly a mile from the village of Belvidere. The path winds, green and flower-skirted, among beeches and oaks, through whose boughs you catch glimpses of waters sparkling and dashing below. Rocks, huge and picturesque, jut out into the stream, affording beautiful views of the river and the distant city.

“Half-fatigued with my walk, I threw myself down upon the rocky slope of the bank, where the panorama of earth, sky, and water lay clear and distinct about me. Far above, silent and dim as a picture, was the city, with its huge mill-masonry, confused chimney-tops, and church-spires; nearer rose the height of Belvidere, with its deserted burial-place and neglected gravestones sharply defined on its bleak, bare summit against the sky; before me the river went dashing down its rugged channel, sending up its everlasting murmur; above me the birch-tree hung its tassels; and the last wild flowers of autumn profusely fringed the rocky rim of the water.  . . .”

—John Greenleaf Whittier, from “Taking Comfort” in Whittier’s Prose Works, Vol. II (University Press: Welch, Bigelow, and Co., Cambridge, 1866)