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.
Windermere (Winandermere)
William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
From “The Prelude

MIDWAY on long Winander’s eastern shore,
Within the crescent of a pleasant bay,
A tavern stood; no homely-featured house,
Primeval like its neighboring cottages,
But ’t was a splendid place, the door beset        5
With chaises, grooms, and liveries, and within
Decanters, glasses, and the blood-red wine.
In ancient times, and ere the hall was built
On the large island, had this dwelling been
More worthy of a poet’s love, a hut,        10
Proud of its own bright fire and sycamore shade.
But, though the rhymes were gone that once inscribed
The threshold, and large golden characters,
Spread o’er the spangled sign-board, had dislodged
The old Lion and usurped his place, in slight        15
And mockery of the rustic painter’s hand,
Yet, to this hour, the spot to me is dear,
With all its foolish pomp. The garden lay
Upon a slope surmounted by a plain
Of a small bowling-green; beneath us stood        20
A grove, with gleams of water through the trees
And over the tree-tops; nor did we want
Refreshment, strawberries and mellow cream.
There, while through half an afternoon we played
On the smooth platform, whether skill prevailed        25
Or happy blunder triumphed, bursts of glee
Made all the mountains ring. But ere nightfall,
When in our pinnace we returned at leisure
Over the shadowy lake, and to the beach
Of some small island steered our course with one,        30
The minstrel of the troop, and left him there,
And rowed off gently, while he blew his flute
Alone upon the rock,—O, then the calm
And dead still water lay upon my mind
Even with a weight of pleasure, and the sky,        35
Never before so beautiful, sank down
Into my heart, and held me like a dream!

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