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.
 
Woodstock
Blenheim
Anonymous
 
WHEN Europe, freed, confessed the saving power
Of Marlborough’s hand, Britain, who sent him forth
Chief of confederate hosts, to fight the cause
Of liberty and justice, grateful raised
This palace, sacred to her leader’s fame;        5
A trophy of success; with spoils adorned
Of conquered towns, and glorying in the name
Of that auspicious field where Churchill’s sword
Vanquished the might of Gallia, and chastised
Rebel Bavar. Majestic in its strength        10
Stands the proud dome, and speaks its great design.
*        *        *        *        *
  Now through the stately portals issuing forth,
The Muse to softer glories turns, and seeks
The woodland shade, delighted. Not the vale
Of Tempé, famed in song, or Ida’s grove        15
Such beauty boasts. Amid the mazy gloom
Of this romantic wilderness once stood
The bower of Rosamonda, hapless fair,
Sacred to grief and love: the crystal fount
In which she used to bathe her beauteous limbs        20
Still warbling flows, pleased to reflect the face
Of Spencer, lovely maid, when tired she sits
Beside its flowery brink, and views those charms
Which only Rosamond could once excel.
But see where flowing with a nobler stream,        25
A limpid lake of purest waters rolls
Beneath the wide-stretched arch, stupendous work,
Through which the Danube might collected pour
His spacious urn! Silent awhile and smooth
The current glides, till with an headlong force        30
Broke and disordered, down the steep it falls
In loud cascades; the silver-sparkling foam
Glitters relucent in the dancing ray.
 
  In these retreats reposed the mighty soul
Of Churchill, from the toils of war and state,        35
Splendidly private, and the tranquil joy
Of contemplation felt, while Blenheim’s dome
Triumphal ever in his mind renewed
The memory of his fame, and soothed his thoughts
With pleasing record of his glorious deeds.        40
So by the rage of faction, home recalled,
Lucullus, while he waged successful war
Against the pride of Asia, and the power
Of Mithridates, whose aspiring mind
No losses could subdue, enriched with spoils        45
Of conquered nations, back returned to Rome,
And in magnificent retirement past
The evening of his life.
*        *        *        *        *
                    Lo! where towering on the height
Of yon aerial pillar proudly stands
Thy image, like a guardian god, sublime,        50
And awes the subject plain: beneath his feet
The German eagles spread their wings, his hand
Grasps Victory, its slave. Such was thy brow
Majestic, such thy martial port, when Gaul
Fled from thy frown, and in the Danube sought        55
A refuge from thy sword.
*        *        *        *        *
                            Nor shall the constant love
Of her who raised this monument be lost
In dark oblivion: that shall be the theme
Of future bards in ages yet unborn,
Inspired with Chaucer’s fire, who in these groves        60
First tuned the British harp, and little deemed
His humble dwelling should the neighbor be
Of Blenheim, house superb; to which the throng
Of travellers approaching shall not pass
His roof unnoted, but respectful hail        65
With reverence due. Such honor does the Muse
Obtain her favorites.
 
 
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