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.
 
Reading
Reading
Thomas Noon Talfourd (1795–1854)
 
I.
THE FORBURY, AT READING, VISITED ON A MISTY EVENING IN AUTUMN

SOFT uplands, that in boyhood’s earliest days
Seemed mountain-like and distant, fain once more
Would I behold you! but the autumn hoar
Hath veiled your pensive groves in evening haze;
Yet must I wait till on my searching gaze        5
Your outline lives,—more dear than if ye wore
An April sunset’s consecrating rays,—
For even thus the images of yore
Which ye awaken glide from misty years
Dream-like and solemn, and but half unfold        10
Their tale of glorious hopes, religious fears,
And visionary schemes of giant mould;
Whose dimmest trace the world-worn heart reveres,
And, with love’s grasping weakness, strives to hold.
 
II.
ON HEARING THE SHOUTS OF THE PEOPLE AT THE READING ELECTION, IN THE SUMMER OF
1826, AT A DISTANCE

HARK! from the distant town the long acclaim
        15
On the charmed silence of the evening breaks
With startling interruption; yet it wakes
Thought of that voice of never-dying fame
Which on my boyish meditation came
Here, at an hour like this;—my soul partakes        20
A moment’s gloom, that yon fierce contest slakes
Its thirst of high emprise and glorious aim:
Yet wherefore? Feelings that from Heaven are shed
Into these tenements of flesh ally
Themselves to earthly passions, lest, unfed        25
By warmth of human sympathies, they die;
And shall—earth’s fondest aspirations dead—
Fulfil their first and noblest prophecy.
 
III.
VIEW OF THE VALLEY OF READING, FROM TILEHURST, AT THE CLOSE OF THE SAME ELECTION

TOO long have I regarded thee, fair vale,
But as a scene of struggle which denies        30
All pensive joy; and now with childhood’s eyes
In old tranquillity, I bid thee hail;
And welcome to my soul thy own sweet gale,
Which wakes from loveliest woods the melodies
Of long-lost fancy. Never may there fail        35
Within thy circlet spirits born to rise
In honor,—whether won by Freedom rude
In her old Spartan majesty, or wrought
With partial, yet no base regard, to brood
O’er usages by time with sweetness fraught;        40
Be thou their glory-tinted solitude,
The cradle and the home of generous thought!
 
 
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