Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Spain, &c.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV.  1876–79.
Spain: Deva, the River
The River Deva
Robert Southey (1774–1843)
(From Covadonga)

                    A MOUNTAIN rivulet,
Now calm and lovely in its summer course,
Held by those huts its everlasting way
Towards Pionia. They whose flocks and herds
Drink of its water call it Deva. Here        5
Pelayo southward up the ruder vale
Traced it, his guide unerring. Amid heaps
Of mountain wreck, on either side thrown high,
The widespread traces of its wintry might,
The tortuous channel wound: o’er beds of sand        10
Here silently it flows; here from the rock
Rebutted, curls and eddies; plunges here
Precipitate; here roaring among crags,
It leaps and foams and whirls and hurries on.
Gray alders here and bushy hazels hid        15
The mossy side; their wreathed and knotted feet
Bared by the current, now against its force
Repaying the support they found, upheld
The bank secure. Here, bending to the stream
The birch fantastic stretched its rugged trunk,        20
Tall and erect from whence, as from their base,
Each like a tree, its silver branches grew.
The cherry here hung for the birds of heaven
Its rosy fruit on high. The elder there
Its purple berries o’er the water bent,        25
Heavily hanging. Here, amid the brook,
Gray as the stone to which it clung, half root,
Half trunk, the young ash rises from the rock;
And there its parent lifts a lofty head,
And spreads its graceful boughs; the passing wind        30
With twinkling motion lifts the silent leaves,
And shakes its rattling tufts.
*        *        *        *        *
                        The ascending vale,
Long straitened by the narrowing mountains, here
Was closed. In front a rock, abrupt and bare,        35
Stood eminent, in height exceeding far
All edifice of human power, by king
Or caliph, or barbaric sultan reared,
Or mightier tyrants of the world of old,
Assyrian or Egyptian, in their pride;        40
Yet far above, beyond the reach of sight,
Swell after swell, the heathery mountain rose.
Here, in two sources, from the living rock
The everlasting springs of Deva gushed.
Upon a smooth and grassy plat below,        45
By Nature there as for an altar drest,
They joined their sister stream, which from the earth
Welled silently. In such a scene rude man
With pardonable error might have knelt,
Feeling a present Deity, and made        50
His offering to the fountain nymph devout.

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