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.
 
Hautvillers
Elegy Written at the Convent of Haut Villers, in Champagne, 1754
William Whitehead (1715–1785)
 
(Excerpt)

SILENT and clear, through yonder peaceful vale,
  While Marne’s slow waters weave their mazy way
See, to the exulting sun and fostering gale
  What boundless treasures his rich banks display!
 
Fast by the stream, and at the mountain’s base,        5
  The lowing herds through living pastures rove;
Wide-waving harvests crown the rising space,
  And still superior nods the viny grove.
 
High on the top, as guardian of the scene,
  Imperial Sylvan spreads his umbrage wide;        10
Nor wants there many a cot, and spire between,
  Or in the vale or on the mountain’s side,
 
To mark that man, as tenant of the whole,
  Claims the just tribute of his culturing care,
Yet pays to Heaven, in gratitude of soul,        15
  The boon which Heaven accepts of, praise and prayer.
 
O, dire effects of war! the time has been
  When Desolation vaunted here her reign;
One ravaged desert was yon beauteous scene,
  And Marne ran purple to the frighted Seine.        20
 
Oft at his work the toilsome day to cheat
  The swain still talks of those disastrous times,
When Guise’s pride and Condé’s ill-starred heat
  Taught Christian zeal to authorize their crimes;
 
Oft to his children sportive on the grass        25
  Does dreadful tales of worn Tradition tell,
Oft points to Epernay’s ill-fated pass
  Where force thrice triumphed, and where Biron fell.
 
O, dire effects of war! may evermore
  Through this sweet vale the voice of discord cease!        30
A British bard to Gallia’s fertile shore
  Can wish the blessings of eternal peace.
*        *        *        *        *
 
 
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