Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > France
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X.  1876–79.
 
Vire
Vau de Vire
Jean le Houx (1551–1616)
 
Translated by James Patrick Muirhead

I SAW, where Vire through valleys flows,
        The fulling-mills in ruins laid,
The mills from which our songs arose;
        And, mourning the past time, I said:—
“Where are the mills, O valleys fair!        5
The source of many a drinking-air?”
 
The traffic of our sires of yore
        Was in the cloth they made and sold.
Good Basselin (alas, no more!)
        With them his joyous music trolled.        10
Where are the mills, O valleys fair!
The source of many a drinking-air?
 
In mills that fulled their drapery,
        Where that bright river’s currents pass,
They deeply drank, in jollity,        15
        Cider worth more than hypocras.
Where are the mills, O valleys fair!
The source of many a drinking-air?
 
Basselin framed their drinking-lays,
        As Vaux-de-Vire so widely known;        20
And taught a thousand charming ways
        Of singing their melodious tone.
Where are the mills, O valleys fair!
The source of many a drinking-air?
 
But to that good old time a close.        25
        To all things human cometh rest!
Within me, wine! take thy repose:
        May he who poured thee out be blest!
Where are the mills, O valleys fair!
The source of many a drinking-air?        30
 
 
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