Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > England
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV.  1876–79.
 
Greenwich
Greenwich Hill
William Gifford (1756–1826)
 
THOUGH clouds obscured the morning hour,
  And keen and eager blew the blast,
And drizzling fell the cheerless shower,
  As, doubtful, to the skiff we passed,
 
All soon, propitious to our prayer;        5
  Gave promise of a brighter day;
The clouds dispersed in purer air,
  The blasts in zephyrs died away.
 
So have we, love, a day enjoyed,
  On which we both—and yet who knows?—        10
May dwell with pleasure unalloyed,
  And dread no thorn beneath the rose.
 
How pleasant from that dome-crowned hill
  To view the varied scene below,
Woods, ships, and spires, and, lovelier still,        15
  The circling Thames’ majestic flow!
 
How sweet, as indolently laid,
  We overhung that long-drawn dale,
To watch the checkered light and shade
  That glanced upon the shifting sail!        20
 
And when the shadow’s rapid growth
  Proclaimed the noontide hour expired,
And, though unwearied, nothing loath,
  We to our simple meal retired;
 
The sportive wile, the blameless jest,        25
  The careless mind’s spontaneous flow,
Gave to that simple meal a zest
  Which richer tables may not know.
 
The babe that on the mother’s breast
  Has toyed and wantoned for a while,        30
And, sinking in unconscious rest,
  Looks up to catch a parting smile,
 
Feels less assured than thou, dear maid,
  When, ere thy ruby lips could part
(As close to mine thy cheek was laid),        35
  Thine eyes had opened all thy heart.
 
Then, then I marked the chastened joy
  That lightly o’er thy features stole,
From vows repaid (my sweet employ),
  From truth, from innocence of soul;        40
 
While every word dropt on my ear
  So soft (and yet it seemed to thrill),
So sweet that ’t was a heaven to hear,
  And e’en thy pause had music still.
 
And O, how like a fairy dream        45
  To gaze in silence on the tide,
While soft and warm the sunny gleam
  Slept on the glassy surface wide!
 
And many a thought of fancy bred,
  Wild, soothing, tender, undefined,        50
Played lightly round the heart, and shed
  Delicious languor o’er the mind.
 
So hours like moments winged their flight,
  Till now the boatmen on the shore,
Impatient of the waning light,        55
  Recalled us by the dashing oar.
 
Well, Anna, many days like this
  I cannot, must not hope to share;
For I have found an hour of bliss
  Still followed by an age of care.        60
 
Yet oft when memory intervenes—
  But you, dear maid, be happy still,
Nor e’er regret, midst fairer scenes,
  The day we passed on Greenwich Hill.
 
 
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