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


A Truant Hour

By Henry Alford (1810–1871)

THE GOLDEN stars keep watch aloft;

Unmarked the moments glide along,

Save that around me scatters oft

Yon nightingale his pearls of song:—

The hum of men, the roar of wheels,

That filled the streets erewhile, are gone;

The inner consciousness but feels

The lovely river rolling on.

The course of thoughts and being, pent

As waters ere they plunge below,

Reflects a downward firmament

Of life and things, in gleamy show.

Thus rest, so hushed with airs of balm

That reach them from their promise land,

The righteous souls, in stillest calm

Laid up in their Redeemer’s hand.

All that has been, and all that is,

Back from their thoughts in light is given,

Deep firmaments of inward bliss

Far glittering into distant heaven.

The while, side-heard as in a dream,

The ages strike their solemn chime;

And from the ancient hills the stream

Rolls onward of predestined Time.