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.
 
Tamar, the River
The Tamar Spring
Robert Stephen Hawker (1803–1875)
 
          The source of this storied river of the West is on a rushy knoll, in a moorland of this parish. The Torridge also flows from the selfsame mound.

FOUNT of a rushing river! wild-flowers wreathe
  The home where thy first waters sunlight claim:
The lark sits hushed beside thee, while I breathe,
  Sweet Tamar Spring! the music of thy name.
 
On through thy goodly channel, on to the sea!        5
  Pass amid heathery vale, tall rock, fair bough;
But nevermore with footstep pure and free,
  Or face so meek with happiness as now.
 
Fair is the future scenery of thy days,
  Thy course domestic, and thy paths of pride:        10
Depths that give back the soft-eyed violets’ gaze,
  Shores where tall navies march to meet the tide.
 
Thine, leafy Tetcott, and those neighboring walls,
  Noble Northumberland’s embowered domain;
Thine, Cartha Martha, Morwell’s rocky falls,        15
  Storied Cotehele, and Ocean’s loveliest plain.
 
Yet false the vision, and untrue the dream,
  That lures thee from thy native wilds to stray:
A thousand griefs will mingle with that stream,
  Unnumbered hearts shall sigh those waves away.        20
 
Scenes fierce with men thy seaward current laves,
  Harsh multitudes will throng thy gentle brink;
Back with the grieving concourse of thy waves,
  Home to the waters of thy childhood shrink.
 
Thou heedest not! thy dream is of the shore,        25
  Thy heart is quick with life; on to the sea!
How will the voice of thy far streams implore,
  Again amid these peaceful weeds to be!
 
My soul! my soul! a happier choice be thine,
  Thine the hushed valley and the lonely sod;        30
False dream, far vision, hollow hope resign,
  Fast by our Tamar Spring, alone with God!
 
 
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