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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Germany: Vols. XVII–XVIII. 1876–79.

Rhine, the River

A Thought from the Rhine

By Charles Kingsley (1819–1875)

I HEARD an eagle crying all alone

Above the vineyards through the summer night,

Among the skeletons of robber towers,—

The iron homes of iron-hearted lords,

Now crumbling back to ruin year by year,—

Because the ancient eyry of his race

Is trenched and walled by busy-handed men,

And all his forest-chace and woodland wild,

Wherefrom he fed his young with hare and roe,

Are trim with grapes, which swell from hour to hour

And toss their golden tendrils to the sun

For joy at their own riches: so, I thought,

The great devourers of the earth shall sit,

Idle and impotent, they know not why,

Down-staring from their barren height of state

On nations grown too wise to slay and slave,

The puppets of the few, while peaceful love

And fellow-help make glad the heart of earth,

With wonders which they fear and hate, as he

The eagle hates the vineyard slopes below.