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


Cadland, Southampton River

By William Lisle Bowles (1762–1850)

IF ever sea-maid, from her coral cave,

Beneath the hum of the great surge, has loved

To pass delighted from her green abode,

And, seated on a summer bank, to sing

No earthly music; in a spot like this

The bard might feign he heard her, as she dried

Her golden hair, yet dripping from the main,

In the slant sunbeam.
So the pensive bard

Might image, warmed by this enchanting scene,

The ideal form; but though such things are not,

He who has ever felt a thought refined;

He who has wandered on the sea of life,

Forming delightful visions of a home

Of beauty and repose; he who has loved

With filial warmth his country, will not pass

Without a look of more than tenderness

On all the scene; from where the pensile birch

Bends on the bank, amid the clustered group

Of the dark hollies; to the woody shore

That steals diminished, to the distant spires

Of Hampton, crowning the long lucid wave.

White in the sun beneath the forest-shade

Full shines the frequent sail, like Vanity,

As she goes onward in her glittering trim,

Amid the glances of life’s transient morn,

Calling on all to view her!
Vectis there,

That slopes its greensward to the lambent wave

And shows through softest haze its woods and domes,

With gray St. Catherine’s creeping to the sky,

Seems like a modest maid, who charms the more

Concealing half her beauties.
To the east,

Proud, yet complacent, on its subject realm,

With masts innumerable thronged, and hulls

Seen indistinct, but formidable, mark

Albion’s vast fleet, that, like the impatient storm,

Waits but the word to thunder and flash death

On him who dares approach to violate

The shores and living scenes that smile secure

Beneath its dragon-watch!
Long may they smile!

And long, majestic Albion (while the sound

From East to West, from Albis to the Po,

Of dark contention hurtles), mayst thou rest,

As calm and beautiful this sylvan scene

Looks on the refluent ware that steals below.