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.
 
Introductory to Savoy
In High Savoy
Francis Turner Palgrave (1824–1897)
 
NATURE’S fair, fruitless, aimless world
    Men take and mould at will:
Scoop havens from the wasteful sea;
Tame heaths to green fertility,
    And grind their roadway through the hill.        5
 
Another aspect now she dons,
    Changed by the hands of men;
What harvest plains of golden hope,
What vineyards on the amber slope,
    What lurid forge-lights in the glen!        10
 
Yet still some relic she reserves
    Of what was all her own;
Keeps the wild surface of the moor,
Or where the glacier-torrents roar,
    Reigns o’er gray piles of wrinkled stone.        15
 
And though man’s daily strengthening sway
    Contracts her precinct fair,
Yet round smooth sweeps of vine-set land
Her vaporous ranks of summit stand
    As ghosts in morning’s silent air:        20
 
Or on vast slopes unploughed, untrod,
    She vindicates her right;
Green billows of primeval copse,
Tossing a myriad spiry tops
    ’Neath the full zenith-flood of light.        25
 
Or where, whilst o’er Rhone’s azure lake
    Heaven’s azure stainless lies,
From the White Mount the white clouds strike,
As if volcano-born, or like
    The smoke of some great sacrifice.        30
 
 
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