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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.

Wales: Towy, the River

Banks of the Towy

By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

(From Madoc)

MUSING on thoughts like these, did Madoc roam

Alone along the Towy’s winding shore.

The beavers in its bank had hollowed out

Their social place of dwelling, and had dammed

The summer current, with their perfect art

Of instinct, erring not in means nor end.

But as the floods of spring had broken down

Their barrier, so its breaches unrepaired

Were left; and round the piles, which, deeper driven,

Still held their place, the eddying waters whirled.

Now in those habitations desolate

One sole survivor dwelt: him Madoc saw,

Laboring alone, beside his hermit house;

And in that mood of melancholy thought,—

For in his boyhood he had loved to watch

Their social work, and for he knew that man

In bloody sport had wellnigh rooted out

The poor community,—the ominous sight

Became a grief and burden. Eve came on;

The dry leaves rustled to the wind, and fell

And floated on the stream; there was no voice

Save of the mournful rooks, who overhead

Winged their long line; for fragrance of sweet flowers,

Only the odor of the autumnal leaves;—

All sights and sounds of sadness. And the place

To that despondent mood was ministrant.

Among the hills of Gwyneth, and its wilds,

And mountain glens, perforce he cherished still

The hope of mountain liberty; they braced

And knit the heart and arm of hardihood:

But here, in these green meads, by these low slopes

And hanging groves, attempered to the scene,

His spirit yielded.