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.
 
Trent, the River
The Trent
Michael Drayton (1563–1631)
 
NEAR to the silver Trent
        Sirena dwelleth,
She to whom nature lent
        All that excelleth;
By which the Muses late,        5
        And the neat Graces,
Have for their greater state
        Taken their places;
Twisting an anadem,
        Wherewith to crown her,        10
As it belonged to them
        Most to renown her.
 
  CHORUS.—On thy bank
              In a rank
              Let thy swans sing her,        15
          And with their music
              Along let them bring her.
 
Tagus and Pactolus
        Are to thee debtor,
Nor for their gold to us        20
        Are they the better;
Henceforth of all the rest,
        Be thou the river,
Which, as the daintiest,
        Puts them down ever.        25
For as my precious one
        O’er thee doth travel,
She to pearl paragon
        Turneth thy gravel.
 
Our mournful Philomel,        30
        That rarest tuner,
Henceforth in April
        Shall wake the sooner;
And to her shall complain
        From the thick cover,        35
Redoubling every strain
        Over and over:
For when my love too long
        Her chamber keepeth;
As though it suffered wrong,        40
        The morning weepeth.
 
Oft have I seen the sun,
        To do her honor,
Fix himself at his noon
        To look upon her,        45
And hath gilt every grove,
        Every hill near her,
With his flames from above,
        Striving to cheer her:
And when she from his sight        50
        Hath herself turnéd,
He, as it had been night,
        In clouds hath mournéd.
 
The verdant meads are seen,
        When she doth view them,        55
In fresh and gallant green
        Strait to renew them,
And every little grass
        Broad itself spreadeth,
Proud that this bonny lass        60
        Upon it treadeth:
Nor flower is so sweet
        In this large cincture,
But it upon her feet
        Leaveth some tincture.        65
 
The fishes in the flood,
        When she doth angle,
For the hook strive agood
        Them to entangle;
And leaping on the land        70
        From the clear water,
Their scales upon the sand
        Lavishly scatter;
Therewith to pave the mould
        Whereon she passes,        75
So herself to behold
        As in her glasses.
 
When she looks out by night
        The stars stand gazing,
Like comets to our sight        80
        Fearfully blazing;
As wondering at her eyes,
        With their much brightness,
Which so amaze the skies,
        Dimming their lightness.        85
The raging tempests are calm
        When she speaketh,
Such most delightsome balm
        From her lips breaketh.
 
In all our Brittany        90
        There ’s not a fairer,
Nor can you fit any,
        Should you compare her.
Angels her eyelids keep,
        All hearts surprising;        95
Which look while she doth sleep
        Like the sun’s rising:
She alone of her kind
        Knoweth true measure,
And her unmatchéd mind        100
        Is heaven’s treasure.
 
Fair Dove and Darwent clear,
        Boast ye your beauties,
To Trent your mistress here
        Yet pay your duties.        105
My love was higher born
        Towards the full fountains,
Yet she doth moorland scorn
        And the Peak mountains;
Nor would she none should dream        110
        Where she abideth,
Humble as is the stream
        Which by her slideth.
 
Yet my poor rustic Muse,
        Nothing can move her,        115
Nor the means I can use,
        Though her true lover:
Many a long winter’s night
        Have I waked for her,
Yet this my piteous plight        120
        Nothing can stir her.
All thy sands, silver Trent,
        Down to the Humber,
The sighs that I have spent
        Never can number.        125
 
  CHORUS.—On thy bank
              In a rank
              Let thy swans sing her,
          And with their music
              Along let them bring her.        130
 
 
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