Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Asia
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII.  1876–79.
 
Chinese Empire: King-te-tching
China Ware
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)
 
(From Kéramos)

O’ER desert sands, o’er gulf and bay,
O’er Ganges and o’er Himalay,
Bird-like I fly, and flying sing,
To flowery kingdoms of Cathay,
And bird-like poise on balanced wing        5
Above the town of King-te-tching,
A burning town, or seeming so,—
Three thousand furnaces that glow
Incessantly, and fill the air
With smoke uprising, gyre on gyre,        10
And painted by the lurid glare,
Of jets and flashes of red fire.
 
As leaves that in the autumn fall,
Spotted and veined with various hues,
Are swept along the avenues,        15
And lie in heaps by hedge and wall
So from this grove of chimneys whirled
To all the markets of the world,
These porcelain leaves are wafted on,—
Light yellow leaves with spots and stains        20
Of violet and of crimson dye,
Or tender azure of a sky
Just washed by gentle April rains,
And beautiful with celadon.
 
Nor less the coarser household wares,—        25
The willow pattern, that we knew
In childhood, with its bridge of blue
Leading to unknown thoroughfares;
The solitary man who stares
At the white river flowing through        30
Its arches, the fantastic trees
And wild perspective of the view;
And intermingled among these
The tiles that in our nurseries
Filled us with wonder and delight,        35
Or haunted us in dreams at night.
 
 
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