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.
 
Savoy: Annecy
Les Charmettes
Thomas Moore (1779–1852)
 
(From Rhymes on the Road)

I MAY be cold, may want that glow
Of high romance which bards should know;
That holy homage which is felt
In treading where the great have dwelt,—
This reverence, whatsoe’er it be,        5
  I fear, I feel, I have it not;
For here, at this still hour, to me
  The charms of this delightful spot,—
Its calm seclusion from the throng,
  From all the heart would fain forget,—        10
This narrow valley, and the song
  Of its small murmuring rivulet,—
The flitting to and fro of birds,
  Tranquil and tame as they were once
In Eden, ere the startling words        15
  Of man disturbed their orisons!—
Those little shadowy paths, that wind
Up the hillside, with fruit-trees lined,
And lighted only by the breaks
The gay wind in the foliage makes,        20
Or vistas here and there, that ope
  Through weeping willows, like the snatches
Of far-off scenes of light, which hope,
  Even through the shade of sadness, catches!—
All this, which, could I once but lose        25
  The memory of those vulgar ties
Whose grossness all the heavenliest hues
  Of Genius can no more disguise
Than the sun’s beams can do away
The filth of fens o’er which they play,—        30
This scene which would have filled my heart
  With thoughts of all that happiest is,—
Of love, where self hath only part,
  As echoing back another’s bliss,—
Of solitude, secure and sweet,        35
Beneath whose shade the Virtues meet;
Which, while it shelters, never chills
  Our sympathies with human woe,
But keeps them, like sequestered rills,
  Purer and fresher in their flow,—        40
Of happy days that share their beams
  ’Twixt quiet mirth and wise employ,—
Of tranquil nights that give in dreams
  The moonlight of the morning’s joy!
All this my heart could dwell on here,        45
But for those hateful memories near,
Those sordid truths, that cross the track
Of each sweet thought and drive them back
Full into all the mire and strife
And vanities of that man’s life        50
Who, more than all that e’er have glowed
  With Fancy’s flame (and it was his
If ever given to mortal), showed
  What an impostor Genius is.
 
 
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