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.
The Washes
The Washes
Michael Drayton (1563–1631)
From “Poly-Olbion”

NOW in upon thy earth, rich Lincolnshire, I strain,
At Deeping, from whose street the plenteous ditches drain,
Hemp-bearing Holland’s fen, at Spalding that do fall
Together in their course, themselves as emptying all
Into one general sewer, which seemeth to divide        5
Low Holland from the high, which on their eastern side
The inbending ocean holds, from the Norfolcean lands,
To their more northern point, where Wainfleet drifted stands,
Do shoulder out those seas, and Lindsey bids her stay,
Because to that fair part a challenge she doth lay.        10
From fast and firmer earth, whereon the Muse of late
Trod with a steady foot, now with a slower gait,
Through quicksands, beach, and ouze, the Washes she must wade,
Where Neptune every day doth powerfully invade
The vast and queachy soil with hosts of wallowing waves,        15
From whose impetuous force that who himself not saves
By swift and sudden flight is swallowed by the deep,
When from the wrathful tides the foaming surges sweep
The sands which lay all naked to the wide heaven before,
And turneth all to sea which was but lately shore,        20
From this our southern part of Holland, called the Low,
Where Crowland’s ruins yet (though almost buried) show
Her mighty founder’s power, yet his more Christian zeal.

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