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.
 
Penshurst
At Penshurst
Edmund Waller (1606–1687)
 
WHILE in this park I sing, the listening deer
Attend my passion, and forget to fear;
When to the beeches I report my flame,
They bow their heads, as if they felt the same.
To gods appealing, when I reach their bowers        5
With loud complaints, they answer me in showers.
To thee a wild and cruel soul is given,
More deaf than trees, and prouder than the heaven!
Love’s foe professed! why dost thou falsely feign
Thyself a Sidney? from which noble strain        10
He sprung, that could so far exalt the name
Of Love, and warm our nation with his flame,
That all we can of love or high desire
Seems but the smoke of amorous Sidney’s fire.
Nor call her mother who so well does prove        15
One breast may hold both chastity and love.
Never can she, that so exceeds the spring
In joy and bounty, be supposed to bring
One so destructive. To no human stock
We owe this fierce unkindness, but the rock;        20
That cloven rock produced thee, by whose side
Nature, to recompense the fatal pride
Of such stern beauty, placed those healing springs
Which not more help than that destruction brings.
Thy heart no ruder than the rugged stone,        25
I might, like Orpheus, with my numerous moan
Melt to compassion; now my traitorous song
With thee conspires to do the singer wrong;
While thus I suffer not myself to lose
The memory of what augments my woes,        30
But with my own breath still foment the fire,
Which flames as high as fancy can aspire!
  This last complaint the indulgent ears did pierce
Of just Apollo, president of verse;
Highly concernéd that the Muse should bring        35
Damage to one whom he had taught to sing,
Thus he advised me: “On yon aged tree
Hang up thy lute, and hie thee to the sea,
That there with wonders thy diverted mind
Some truce, at least, may with this passion find.”        40
Ah, cruel nymph! from whom her humble swain
Flies for relief unto the raging main,
And from the winds and tempests does expect
A milder fate than from her cold neglect!
Yet there he ’ll pray that the unkind may prove        45
Blest in her choice; and vows this endless love
Springs from no hope of what she can confer,
But from those gifts which Heaven has heaped on her.
 
 
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