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.
 
London Streets
Temple Bar
Walter Thornbury (1828–1876)
 
ONCE more I greet thee, Temple Bar,
That hast so often from afar
  Risen amid my dreams;
When avalanches round me roared,
Or where the Tagus, sunlit, poured        5
  Its stately golden streams;
 
And where, above the torrent-bed,
The Alp-peaks flushed with rosy red
  The sunset dyes arrayed;
And where, below on lily banks,        10
The half-wild goats in straggling ranks
  Fed, leaped, or, butting, played;
 
And even where Niagara roared,
And, like a final deluge, poured
  Majestically calm;        15
And where arose the Pyramid,
At starry twilight almost hid,
  And waved the lonely palm.
 
Well I remember all thy ways,
The glimmering, horny light that plays        20
  Around thy window-panes;
Thy posture-making kings, and she
Who brought proud Spain upon his knee,
  And still up yonder reigns.
 
No grinning traitors’ heads on poles        25
Strike terror now to Tory souls,
  (Thank God, those days are altered!)
A statesman now may lose his head
Many a year before he ’s dead,
  Long ere his last word ’s faltered.        30
 
How often, like a furnace mouth,
I ’ve seen in days of summer drouth
  The archway flaming red
With sunset crimsons fold on fold,
That turned the Strand to burning gold,        35
  Then darkened overhead.
 
And on how many a fairy night
I ’ve seen the sprinkling silver light
  Transmute thy royalty;
Invest thy kings with saintly gleams,        40
Crowning with halo of moonbeams
  Thy transient majesty.
 
Few burly Doctor Johnsons now
At midnight bend their chiding brow
  On Boswells reeling home;        45
Nor Goldsmith curses German kings,
And wishes, among other things,
  For Chevalier from Rome.
 
Yes, Chatterton has lingered here,
Gazing upon a sky, dark, drear,        50
  Holding his bated breath;
While moonshine blanched the windowed arch,
That howling, bitter night in March,
  He pondered upon death.
 
Still, luckless Chattertons, alas!        55
Through this dark gate of time will pass,
  Forced by their cruel star;
And many Boswells, Johnson-led,
Will pass through you when I am dead,
  To heavens that lie afar.        60
 
Great arch of Time’s swift rolling river,
It makes my blood in ague shiver,
  To think how fast life’s flowing;
And how our little frail canoes,
No bigger than a giant’s shoes,        65
  Sink ere we know they ’re going.
 
 
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