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.
 
Wales: Bardsey
The Holy Isle
Robert Southey (1774–1843)
 
(From Madoc)

TO Bardsey was the lord of ocean bound,—
Bardsey, the holy islet, in whose soil
Did many a chief and many a saint repose,
His great progenitors. He mounts the skiff;
Her canvas swells before the breeze; the sea        5
Sings round her sparkling keel; and soon the lord
Of ocean treads the venerable shore.
 
  There was not, on that day, a speck to stain
The azure heaven; the blessed sun alone,
In unapproachable divinity,        10
Careered, rejoicing in his fields of light.
How beautiful, beneath the bright-blue sky,
The billows heave! one glowing green expanse,
Save where along the bending line of shore
Such hue is thrown as when the peacock’s neck        15
Assumes its proudest tint of amethyst,
Imbathed in emerald glory. All the flocks
Of ocean are abroad; like floating foam,
The sea-gulls rise and fall upon the waves;
With long-protruded neck the cormorants        20
Wing their far flight aloft; and round and round
The plovers wheel, and give their note of joy.
It was a day that sent into the heart
A summer feeling: even the insect-swarms
From their dark nooks and coverts issued forth,        25
To sport through one day of existence more;
The solitary primrose on the bank
Seemed now as though it had no cause to mourn
Its bleak autumnal birth; the rocks and shores,
The forest, and the everlasting hills,        30
Smiled in that joyful sunshine,—they partook
The universal blessing.
                    To this isle,
Where his forefathers were to dust consigned,
Did Madoc come for natural piety,
Ordering a solemn service for their souls.        35
 
 
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