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

Wales: Usk, the River

Brecon Bridge

By Francis Turner Palgrave (1824–1897)

LOW to himself beneath the sun,

While soft his dusky waters run,

With ripple calm as infant’s breath,

An ancient song Usk murmureth,

By the bridge of Aberhonddu.

’T is not of deeds of old, the song,

Llewellyn’s fate, or Gwalia’s wrong;

But how, while we have each our day

And then are not, he runs for aye.

He sees the baby dip its feet

Within his limpid waters sweet;

And hears when youth and passion speak

What strikes to flame the maiden’s cheek.

Then manhood’s colors tamed to gray,

With his fair child the father gay:

And then Old Age, who creeps to view

The stream his feet in boyhood knew.

From days before the iron cry

Of Roman legions rent the sky,

Since man with wolf held brutish strife,

Usk sees the flow and ebb of life.

As mimic whirlpools on his face,

Orb after orb, each other chase,

And gleam and intersect and die,

Our little circles eddy by.

But those fair waters run for aye

While to himself,—Where’er they stray,

All footsteps lead at last to Death,

His ancient song, Usk murmureth

By the bridge of Aberhonddu.