Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > France
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X.  1876–79.
 
Paris
Paris
William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
 
From “The Prelude

THROUGH Paris lay my readiest course, and there
Sojourning a few days, I visited,
In haste, each spot of old or recent fame,
The latter chiefly; from the field of Mars
Down to the suburbs of St. Antony,        5
And from Mont Martyr southward to the Dome
Of Geneviève. In both her clamorous halls,
The national synod and the Jacobins,
I saw the revolutionary power
Toss like a ship at anchor, rocked by storms;        10
The arcades I traversed, in the palace huge
Of Orleans; coasted round and round the line
Of tavern, brothel, gaming-house, and shop,
Great rendezvous of worst and best, the walk
Of all who had a purpose, or had not;        15
I stared and listened, with a stranger’s ears,
To hawkers and haranguers, hubbub wild!
And hissing Factionists with ardent eyes,
In knots, or pairs, or single. Not a look
Hope takes, or Doubt or Fear is forced to wear,        20
But seemed there present; and I scanned them all,
Watched every gesture uncontrollable,
Of anger and vexation and despite,
All side by side, and struggling face to face,
With gayety and dissolute idleness.        25
 
  Where silent zephyrs sported with the dust
Of the Bastille, I sat in the open sun,
And from the rubbish gathered up a stone,
And pocketed the relic, in the guise
Of an enthusiast; yet, in honest truth,        30
I looked for something that I could not find,
Affecting more emotion than I felt;
For ’t is most certain that these various sights,
However potent their first shock, with me
Appeared to recompense the traveller’s pains        35
Less than the painted Magdalene of Le Brun,
A beauty exquisitely wrought, with hair
Dishevelled, gleaming eyes, and rueful cheek
Pale and bedropped with ever-flowing tears.
 
 
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