Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > England
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV.  1876–79.
Nether Stowey
Nether Stowey
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)
(From Fears in Solitude)

A GREEN and silent spot amid the hills,
A small and silent dell! O’er stiller place
No singing skylark ever poised himself.
The hills are heathy, save that swelling slope
Which hath a gay and gorgeous covering on,        5
All golden with the never-bloomless furze,
Which now blooms most profusely; but the dell,
Bathed by the mist, is fresh and delicate
As vernal cornfield, or the unripe flax,
When through its half-transparent stalks, at eve,        10
The level sunshine glimmers with green light.
O, ’t is a quiet, spirit-healing nook!
Which all, methinks, would love; but chiefly he,
The humble man, who in his youthful years
Knew just so much of folly as had made        15
His early manhood more securely wise!
Here he might lie on fern or withered heath,
While from the singing-lark (that sings unseen
The minstrelsy that solitude loves best),
And from the sun, and from the breezy air,        20
Sweet influences trembled o’er his frame;
And he, with many feelings, many thoughts,
Made up a meditative joy, and found
Religious meanings in the forms of nature!
And so, his senses gradually wrapt        25
In a half-sleep, he dreams of better worlds,
And dreaming hears thee still, O singing-lark,
That singest like an angel in the clouds!
*        *        *        *        *
  But now the gentle dewfall sends abroad
The fruit-like perfume of the golden furze:        30
The light has left the summit of the hill,
Though still a sunny gleam lies beautiful,
Aslant the ivied beacon. Now farewell,
Farewell, awhile, O soft and silent spot!
On the green sheep-track, up the heathy hill,        35
Homeward I wind my way; and lo! recalled
From bodings that have wellnigh wearied me
I find myself upon the brow, and pause,
Startled! And after lonely sojourning
In such a quiet and surrounded nook,        40
This burst of prospect, here the shadowy main
Dim tinted, there the mighty majesty
Of that huge amphitheatre of rich
And elmy fields, seems like society,—
Conversing with the mind, and giving it        45
A livelier impulse and a dance of thought!
And now, belovéd Stowey! I behold
Thy church-tower, and, methinks, the four huge elms
Clustering, which mark the mansion of my friend;
And close behind them, hidden from my view,        50
Is my own lowly cottage, where my babe
And my babe’s mother dwell in peace! With light
And quickened footsteps thitherward I tend,
Remembering thee, O green and silent dell!
And grateful that by nature’s quietness        55
And solitary musings all my heart
Is softened, and made worthy to indulge
Love, and the thoughts that yearn for human-kind.

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