Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Spain, &c.
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV.  1876–79.
 
Portugal: Douro, the River
Inscription for the Banks of the Douro
Robert Southey (1774–1843)
 
CROSSING, in unexampled enterprise,
This great and perilous stream, the English host
Effected here their landing, on the day
When Soult from Porto with his troops was driven.
No sight so joyful ever had been seen        5
From Douro’s banks,—not when the mountains sent
Their generous produce down, or homeward fleets
Entered from distant seas their port desired;
Nor e’er were shouts of such glad mariners
So gladly heard, as then the cannon’s peal,        10
And short, sharp strokes of frequent musketry,
By the delivered habitants that hour.
For they who, beaten then and routed, fled
Before victorious England, in their day
Of triumph, had, like fiends let loose from hell,        15
Filled yon devoted city with all forms
Of horror, all unutterable crimes;
And vengeance now had reached the inhuman race
Accurst. O, what a scene did night behold
Within those rescued walls, when festal fires        20
And torches, blazing through the bloody streets,
Streamed their broad light where horse and man in death
Unheeded lay outstretched! Eyes, which had wept
In bitterness so long, shed tears of joy,
And from the broken heart thanksgiving mixed        25
With anguish rose to Heaven. Sir Arthur then
Might feel how precious in a righteous cause
Is victory, how divine the soldier’s meed
When grateful nations bless the avenging sword!
 
 
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