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

Cherwell, the River

Cherwell, from the Terrace

By John Bruce Norton (1815–1883)

’T IS evening! With a mind to which the shade

Somewhat of its own sombre hues hath lent,

On the old terrace-wall far forward bent,

I watch, while slowly the last sunbeams fade

Behind the trees of Christ-Church’ lengthened glade,

Cherwell, thy tributary waters glide

Onward to Isis’ breast, a silver tide,

Winding, mid willow-drooping banks embayed;

Yes! typical thine unambitious flow,

Of those brief years to lone seclusion given,

When studious days in modest current go,

Noiseless, unruffled, swift, unsullied, even,

Unrippled, foamless, eddyless, till hurled

Into the larger waters of the world!

ARISTOCRATIC stream! Thou who dost brook

No trade upon thy waters! never soil

Thy purity the barge and sons of toil!

For gentle lovers only dost thou look:

Ne’er hast thou been, ne’er shalt thou be, forsook

By Youth and Pleasure, who with dripping oar

Through the green meadows on thy banks explore

Each azure bend, and lily-bearing nook;

The pool by bathers sought, glassy and still:

The shady reach where the dark willows bend:

Thine angler-haunted current by the mill:—

Beautiful river! why should I rehearse

Faintly thy charms, when he who was my friend

Hath given thee sweeter and more burning verse?