Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > France
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X.  1876–79.
In the Forest of Fontainebleau
Christopher Pearse Cranch (1813–1892)
THE LIGHTS and shadows of long ago
In the grand old Forest of Fontainebleau
Go with me still wherever I go.
I range my pictures around my room,
Won from the forest’s light and gloom;        5
Not yet shall they sink to an auction’s doom.
They wake me again to the painter’s moods;
They take me back to the wonderful woods,
The wild, dream-haunted solitudes.
They come as Memory waves her wand;        10
And I think of the days when with busy hand
I painted alone in the forest grand.
I see the old gnarled oak-trees spread
Their boughs and foliage over my head.
About the mossy rocks I tread.        15
Under the beeches of Fontainebleau,
In the green dim dells of the Bas-Brëau,
Mid ferns and laurel-tufts I go;
Or up on the hills, while the woods beneath
Circle me round like a giant-wreath,        20
Plunge knee-deep in the purple heath;
Then down to a patch of furzy sand,
Where the white umbrella and easel stand,
And the rocks lie picturesque and grand.
The mellow autumn with fold on fold        25
Has dressed the woods with a bronzy gold,
And scarlet scarfs of a wealth untold.
The tall gray spotted beeches rise
And seem to touch the unclouded skies,
And round their tops with clamorous cries        30
The rooks are wheeling to and fro;
And down on the brown leaf-matting below
The lights and the shadows come and go.
O calm, deep days, when labor moved
With wings of joy to the tasks beloved,        35
And art its own best guerdon proved!
For such it was, when long ago
I sat in my leafy studio
In the dear old Forest of Fontainebleau.

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