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

Banwell Hill

Banwell Hill

By William Lisle Bowles (1762–1850)

HERE let me stand, and gaze upon the scene;

That headland, and those winding sands, and mark

The morning sunshine, on that very shore

Where once a child I wandered. O, return

(I sigh), return a moment, days of youth,

Of childhood,—O, return! How vain the thought,

Vain as unmanly! yet the pensive Muse,

Unblamed may dally with imaginings;

For this wide view is like the scene of life,

Once traversed o’er with carelessness and glee,

And we look back upon the vale of years,

And hear remembered voices, and behold,

In blended colors, images and shades

Long passed, now rising, as at Memory’s call,

Again in softer light.
I see thee not,

Home of my infancy,—I see thee not,

Thou fane that standest on the hill alone,

The homeward sailor’s sea-mark; but I view

Brean Down beyond; and there thy winding sands,

Weston; and far away, one wandering ship,

Where stretches into mist the Severn Sea.

There, mingled with the clouds, old Cambria draws

Its stealing line of mountains lost in haze;

There in mid-channel sit the sister-holms,

Secure and tranquil, though the tide’s vast sweep,

As it rides by, might almost seem to rive

The deep foundations of the earth again,

Threatening, as once, resistless, to ascend

In tempest to this height, to bury here

Fresh-weltering carcasses!