Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Africa
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Africa: Vol. XXIV.  1876–79.
Egypt, Nubia, and Abyssinia: Nile, the River
A Traveller’s Impression on the Nile
Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton (1809–1885)
WHEN you have lain for weeks together
  On such a noble river’s breast,
And learnt its face in every weather,
  And loved its motions and its rest,—
’T is hard at some appointed place        5
  To check your course and turn your prow,
And objects for themselves retrace
  You past with added hope just now.
The silent highway forward beckons,
  And all the bars that reason plants        10
Now disappointed fancy reckons
  As foolish fears or selfish wants.
The very rapids, rocks, and shoals
  Seem but temptations which the stream
Holds out to energetic souls,        15
  That worthy of its love may seem.
But life is full of limits; heed not
  One more or less,—the forward track
May often give you what you need not,
  While wisdom waits on turning back.        20

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