Home  »  English Poetry II  »  477. Longing

English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

George Gordon, Lord Byron

477. Longing

THE CASTLED crag of Drachenfels

Frowns o’er the wide and winding Rhine,

Whose breast of waters broadly swells

Between the banks which bear the vine.

And hills all rich with blossom’d trees,

And fields which promise corn and wine,

And scatter’d cities crowning these,

Whose far white walls along them shine,

Have strew’d a scene, which I should see

With double joy wert thou with me.

And peasant girls, with deep blue eyes,

And hands which offer early flowers,

Walk smiling o’er this paradise:

Above, the frequent feudal towers

Through green leaves lift their walls of gray;

And many a rock which steeply lowers,

And noble arch in proud decay,

Look o’er this vale of vintage-bowers;

But one thing want these banks of Rhine,—

Thy gentle hand to clasp in mine!

I send the lilies given to me;

Though long before thy hand they touch,

I know that they must wither’d be,

But yet reject them not as such;

For I have cherish’d them as dear,

Because they yet may meet thine eye,

And guide thy soul to mine even here,

When thou behold’st them, drooping nigh,

And know’st them gather’d by the Rhine,

And offer’d from my heart to thine!

The river nobly foams and flows,

The charm of this enchanted ground,

And all its thousand turns disclose

Some fresher beauty varying round:

The haughtiest breast its wish might bound

Through life to dwell delighted here;

Nor could on earth a spot be found

To nature and to me so dear,

Could thy dear eyes in following mine

Still sweeten more these banks of Rhine!