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.
 
Repton
Repton
Robert Bigsby (1806–1873)
 
FROM yon dark-tufted hill yet clothed in shade,
Which, like a giant helm with its black plumes,
Frowns o’er the velvet seat of its repose,
We may behold, in many a shining bend,
The silver Trent, slow wandering on and on,        5
Till it is lost amid the far-off vales,
Still robed in fleecy shadows of dim purple.
*        *        *        *        *
Now gaze around you,—lo! what scenes of beauty
Spread their gay flood of transport on the eye,
And from the eye spring rapturous to the heart!        10
Cold, deadly cold, must be that dark-hued spirit
That burns not with delight at Nature’s charms,
With grace luxuriant fraught, and softest bliss,—
Thus decked with smiles of passionate tenderness,
As if appealing to his heart’s best love!        15
 
There is the village-church, serenely seated
Amidst its shadowy elms,—its lofty spire
Tapering majestic mid the azure skies.
Now doth a snowy cloud of gorgeous lustre
Throw its dark outline clearly on the eye;        20
And we may trace the starling’s wheeling flight
Round each small ventage of that slender steeple.
Near it, still shadowed in deep foliage,
A mingled grove of elms and limes and chestnuts,
The antique Priory Hall, with its gray chimneys,        25
Telling of other days, rears its broad pile,
Reflected in the sleeping lake below.
*        *        *        *        *
Seest thou beyond, amid that azure range
Of low-browed hills receding to the west,
The crumbling towers of ancient Tutbury,        30
Once the stern prison of the Scottish Queen!
Around, for many a mile, the forest-shades
Of royal Needwood spread their dusky pomp;
Now, like that hoary ruin, stript and bare,
Yet smiling with their majesty of yore,        35
As in contempt of Time’s oppressive hate!
 
Nor miss those nearer towers, of kindred grace,
Soft-rising o’er yon green hill’s wooded crest;
Reared by a hand that grouped, with skilful aim,
The frowning shadows of the feudal past        40
With the gay sunbeams of more modern art:
Fair, pastoral Newton,—Trent’s embosomed pride!
Abode of hospitality and worth!
Still shall the hours of unreturning mirth
Oft shared, of old, amid thy festive bowers,        45
Live, brightly registered on Memory’s page!
Now gaze upon those cottage roofs below,
From whose embowered chimneys the blue smoke
Slowly up-curls: the day is now begun;
The cock’s shrill clarion hath at length aroused        50
Man to his varied task of customed labor.
It is a scene of soft, sequestered beauty;
Gently our eye descends a sunny slope
Of brightest verdure, bounded by rich meads
Through which a silvery trout-stream rippling winds;        55
The hedge-rows garnished with tall, spreading elms,
Whose dark and massive foliage well contrasts
With the light poplars ranged along the brook.
Lo! many an antique gable courts the eye,
O’erspread with vines; and many a cloistered nook        60
Of sweetest shade. No habitation there
But hath its well-stored orchard, or fair croft,
Descending, in its quiet solitude,
To the clear rill that murmurs at its feet.
The hill beyond, which crowns this fairy vision,        65
Is one wide range of sylvan loveliness,—
Groves, orchards, mingling in confused delight!
 
 
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