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.
 
Thames, the River
The Grotto
Matthew Green (1696–1737)
 
*        *        *        *        *
SAY, Father Thames, whose gentle pace
Gives leave to view what beauties grace
Your flowery banks, if you have seen
The much-sung Grotto of the queen.
Contemplative, forget awhile        5
Oxonian towers, and Windsor’s pile,
And Wolsey’s pride (his greatest guilt),
And what great William since has built,
And flowing past by Richmond scenes
(Honored retreat of two great queens),        10
From Lion House, whose proud survey
Browbeats your flood, look ’cross the way,
And view, from highest swell of tide,
The milder scenes of Surrey side.
 
  Though yet no palace grace the shore,        15
To lodge that pair you should adore;
Nor abbeys, great in ruins, rise,
Royal equivalents for vice;
Behold a grot, in Delphic grove,
The Graces’ and the Muses’ love;        20
(O, might our laureate here,
How would he hail his new-born year!)
A temple from vain glories free,
Whose goddess is Philosophy,
Whose sides such licensed idols crown        25
As superstition would pull down:
The only pilgrimage I know,
That men of sense would choose to go;
Which sweet abode, her wisest choice,
Urania cheers with heavenly voice,        30
While all the virtues gather round
To see her consecrate the ground.
*        *        *        *        *
 
 
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