Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides
- This is another sort of quiet moment in the poem, where things slow down and we stop for a second to look around.
- Paul leaves a village and goes up a hill ("the steep"). From there, he gets nice view of the Mystic River (another river around Boston) as it heads quietly out to sea.
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.
- More of the quiet description: We hear about the alders (a kind of tree) that line up along ("skirt") the edge of the river.
- We also hear more about the sound of Paul's horse, which is soft when he's riding on sand and hard when he rides over stone ("the ledge").
- Again and again in this poem, it seems like we are watching and hearing Paul from a long way off, across a distance of time and space.