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Falls Of Toccoa

October 24, 2018



The following beautiful poem was written about the year 1835 by Richard West Habersham, the artist. As far as we know, this choice addition to our local literature has never been published. It was copied from the original manuscript by a friend of THE RECORD. The author probably received his inspiration to write this poem by visiting the famous falls for the purpose of making a sketch or painting.


So far I’m like Toccoa’s flood

               When first it takes its onward course,

Now gliding through the tufted wood,

               Now o’er the rocks with murm’ring hoarse.

Here, in its quiet bed it sleeps,

               With rhododendra bright o’erhead,

There, dashing down the granite steps,

               Its broken waves in foam are spread.


It irrigates no fertile soil,

               It turns no sober-clacking mills;

Beneath no keel its waters boil,

               No locks its crystal current fills.

But, dropping down the dizzy steep, *

               To silvery veil it seems to grow,

And rests as if in dreamy sleep,

               Upon the placid pool below.


Thus if my life obscurely run –

               If no great deed adorn my name;

If Posey – the much loved one –

               Wind ‘round my head no wreath of fame,

Still when I totter on the brink

               Of life, and yield my mortal breath –

O, like Toccoa, let me sink

               Down to the dark profound of death.


And, as its mists arise again,

               And sparkle in the rainbow ray,

O, may I, from this world so vain,

               Float upward to eternal day!


*Author’s footnote: “The waters of Toccoa fall 186 feet, resting on the pool below in the condition of a cloud, often showing a rainbow.”

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