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



By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

HERE, in the fruitful vales of Somerset,

Was Emma born, and here the maiden grew

To the sweet season of her womanhood,

Beloved and lovely, like a plant whose leaf

And bud and blossom all are beautiful.

In peacefulness her virgin years were passed;

And, when in prosperous wedlock she was given,

Amid the Cumbrian mountains far away

She had her summer bower. ’T was like a dream

Of old romance to see her when she plied

Her little skiff on Derwent’s glassy lake;

The roseate evening resting on the hills,

The lake returning back the hues of heaven,

Mountains and vales and waters, all imbued

With beauty, and in quietness; and she,

Nymph-like, amid that glorious solitude

A heavenly presence, gliding in her joy.

But soon a wasting malady began

To prey upon her, frequent in attack,

Yet with such flattering intervals as mock

The hopes of anxious love, and most of all

The sufferer, self-deceived. During those days

Of treacherous respite, many a time hath he,

Who leaves this record of his friend, drawn back

Into the shadow from her social board,

Because too surely in her cheek he saw

The insidious bloom of death; and then her smiles

And innocent mirth excited deeper grief

Than when long-looked-for tidings came at last,

That, all her sufferings ended, she was laid

Amid Madeira’s orange-groves to rest.

O gentle Emma! o’er a lovelier form

Than thine earth never closed; nor e’er did heaven

Receive a purer spirit from the world.