Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > England
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV.  1876–79.
 
Aldborough
The Fens
George Crabbe (1754–1832)
 
(From The Lover’s Journey)

ON rode Orlando, counting all the while
The miles he passed, and every coming mile;
Like all attracted things, he quicker flies,
The place approaching where the attraction lies;
When next appeared a dam—so call the place—        5
Where lies a road confined in narrow space;
A work of labor, for on either side
Is level fen, a prospect wild and wide,
With dikes on either hand by ocean’s self supplied:
Far on the right the distant sea is seen,        10
And salt the springs that feed the marsh between;
Beneath an ancient bridge, the straitened flood
Rolls through its sloping banks of slimy mud;
Near it a sunken boat resists the tide,
That frets and hurries to the opposing side;        15
The rushes sharp, that on the borders grow,
Bend their brown flowerets to the stream below,
Impure in all its course, in all its progress slow:
Here a grave Flora scarcely deigns to bloom,
Nor wears a rosy blush, nor sheds perfume;        20
The few dull flowers that o’er the place are spread
Partake the nature of their fenny bed;
Here on its wiry stem, in rigid bloom,
Grows the salt lavender that lacks perfume;
Here the dwarf sallows creep, the septfoil harsh,        25
And the soft slimy mallow of the marsh;
Low on the ear the distant billows sound,
And just in view appears their stony bound;
No hedge nor tree conceals the glowing sun,
Birds, save a watery tribe, the district shun,        30
Nor chirp among the reeds where bitter waters run.
 
 
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