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: Grongar Hill
Grongar Hill
John Dyer (1700?–1758)
 
SILENT nymph, with curious eye!
Who, the purple eve, dost lie
On the mountain’s lonely van,
Beyond the noise of busy man,
Painting fair the form of things,        5
While the yellow linnet sings,
Or the tuneful nightingale
Charms the forest with her tale,—
Come, with all thy various hues,
Come and aid thy sister Muse.        10
Now, while Phœbus, riding high,
Gives lustre to the land and sky,
Grongar Hill invites my song,—
Draw the landscape bright and strong;
Grongar, in whose mossy cells        15
Sweetly musing Quiet dwells;
Grongar, in whose silent shade,
For the modest Muses made,
So oft I have, the evening still,
At the fountain of a rill,        20
Sat upon a flowery bed,
With my hand beneath my head,
While strayed my eyes o’er Towy’s flood,
Over mead and over wood,
From house to house, from hill to hill,        25
Till Contemplation had her fill.
  About his checkered sides I wind,
And leave his brooks and meads behind,
And groves and grottos where I lay,
And vistas shooting beams of day.        30
Wide and wider spreads the vale,
As circles on a smooth canal.
The mountains round, unhappy fate!
Sooner or later, of all height,
Withdraw their summits from the skies,        35
And lessen as the others rise.
Still the prospect wider spreads,
Adds a thousand woods and meads;
Still it widens, widens still,
And sinks the newly risen hill.        40
  Now I gain the mountain’s brow;
What a landscape lies below!
No clouds, no vapors, intervene;
But the gay, the open scene
Does the face of Nature show,        45
In all the hues of heaven’s bow!
And, swelling to embrace the light,
Spreads around beneath the sight.
  Old castles on the cliffs arise,
Proudly towering in the skies;        50
Rushing from the woods, the spires
Seem from hence ascending fires;
Half his beams Apollo sheds
On the yellow mountain-heads,
Gilds the fleeces of the flocks,        55
And glitters on the broken rocks.
  Below me trees unnumbered rise,
Beautiful in various dyes:
The gloomy pine, the poplar blue,
The yellow beach, the sable yew,        60
The slender fir that taper grows,
The sturdy oak with broad-spread boughs;
And beyond the purple grove,
Haunt of Phyllis, queen of love!
Gaudy as the opening dawn,        65
Lies a long and level lawn,
On which a dark hill, steep and high,
Holds and charms the wandering eye.
Deep are his feet in Towy’s flood:
His sides are clothed with waving wood,        70
And ancient towers crown his brow,
That cast an awful look below;
Whose ragged walls the ivy creeps,
And with her arms from falling keeps;
So both a safety from the wind        75
In mutual dependence find.
’T is now the raven’s bleak abode;
’T is now the apartment of the toad;
And there the fox securely feeds;
And there the poisonous adder breeds,        80
Concealed in ruins, moss, and weeds;
While, ever and anon, there fall
Huge heaps of hoary mouldered wall.
Yet Time has seen,—that lifts the low
And level lays the lofty brow,—        85
Has seen this broken pile complete,
Big with the vanity of state.
But transient is the smile of Fate!
A little rule, a little sway,
A sunbeam in a winter’s day,        90
Is all the proud and mighty have
Between the cradle and the grave.
  And see the rivers how they run,
Through woods and meads, in shade and sun,
Sometimes swift, sometimes slow,—        95
Wave succeeding wave, they go
A various journey to the deep,
Like human life to endless sleep!
Thus is Nature’s vesture wrought,
To instruct our wandering thought:        100
Thus she dresses green and gay,
To disperse our cares away.
  Ever charming, ever new,
When will the landscape tire the view!
The fountain’s fall, the river’s flow;        105
The woody valleys, warm and low;
The windy summit, wild and high,
Roughly rushing on the sky;
The pleasant seat, the ruined tower,
The naked rock, the shady bower;        110
The town and village, dome and farm,—
Each gives each a double charm,
As pearls upon an Ethiop’s arm.
  See on the mountain’s southern side,
Where the prospect opens wide,        115
Where the evening gilds the tide;
How close and small the hedges lie!
What streaks of meadow cross the eye!
A step methinks may pass the stream,
So little distant dangers seem;        120
So we mistake the Future’s face,
Eyed through Hope’s deluding glass;
As yon summits, soft and fair,
Clad in colors of the air,
Which to those who journey near,        125
Barren, brown, and rough appear;
Still we tread the same coarse way,
The present ’s still a cloudy day.
  O, may I with myself agree,
And never covet what I see;        130
Content me with an humble shade,
My passions tamed, my wishes laid;
For while our wishes wildly roll,
We banish quiet from the soul:
’T is thus the busy beat the air,        135
And misers gather wealth and care.
  Now, even now, my joys run high,
As on the mountain-turf I lie;
While the wanton Zephyr sings,
And in the vale perfumes his wings;        140
While the waters murmur deep;
While the shepherd charms his sheep;
While the birds unbounded fly,
And with music fill the sky,
Now, even now, my joys run high.        145
  Be full, ye courts; be great who will;
Search for Peace with all your skill:
Open wide the lofty door,
Seek her on the marble floor.
In vain you search; she is not there!        150
In vain you search the domes of Care!
Grass and flowers Quiet treads,
On the meads and mountain-heads,
Along with Pleasure, close allied,
Ever by each other’s side;        155
And often, by the murmuring rill,
Hears the thrush, while all is still
Within the groves of Grongar Hill.
 
 
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