Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV. 1876–79.

Belgium: Bruges


By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

BRUGES I saw attired with golden light

(Streamed from the west) as with a robe of power:

The splendor fled; and now the sunless hour,

That, slowly making way for peaceful night,

Best suits with fallen grandeur, to my sight

Offers the beauty, the magnificence,

And sober graces, left her for defence

Against the injuries of time, the spite

Of fortune, and the desolating storms

Of future war. Advance not,—spare to hide,

O gentle power of darkness! these mild hues;

Obscure not yet these silent avenues

Of stateliest architecture, where the forms

Of nun-like females, with soft motion, glide!

THE SPIRIT of Antiquity—enshrined

In sumptuous buildings, vocal in sweet song,

In picture, speaking with heroic tongue,

And with devout solemnities entwined—

Mounts to the seat of grace within the mind:

Hence forms that glide with swan-like ease along;

Hence motions, even amid the vulgar throng,

To an harmonious decency confined:

As if the streets were consecrated ground,

The city one vast temple, dedicate

To mutual respect in thought and deed;

To leisure, to forbearances sedate;

To social cares from jarring passions freed;

A deeper peace than that in deserts found!