Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > England
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV.  1876–79.
Savernake Forest
Avenue in Savernake Forest
William Lisle Bowles (1762–1850)
HOW soothing sound the gentle airs that move
The innumerable leaves, high overhead,
When autumn first, from the long avenue
That lifts its arching height of ancient shade,
Steals here and there a leaf!
                            Within the gloom,
In partial sunshine white, some trunks appear
Studding the glens of fern; in solemn shade
Some mingle their dark branches, but yet all,
All make a sad, sweet music, as they move,
Not undelightful to a stranger’s heart.        10
They seem to say, in accents audible,
Farewell to summer, and farewell the strains
Of many a lithe and feathered chorister,
That through the depth of these incumbent woods
Made the long summer gladsome.
                            I have heard
To the deep-mingling sounds of organs clear
(When slow the choral anthem rose beneath)
The glimmering minster through its pillared aisles
Echo; but not more sweet the vaulted roof
Rang to those linkéd harmonies, than here        20
The high wood answers to the lightest breath
Of nature.
            O, may such music steal,
Soothing the cares of venerable age,
From public toil retired; may it awake,
As, still and slow, the sun of life declines,        25
Remembrances, not mournful, but most sweet;
May it, as oft beneath the sylvan shade
Their honored owner strays, come like the sound
Of distant seraph harps, yet speaking clear!
How poor is every sound of earthly things,        30
When heaven’s own music waits the just and pure!

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