Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  For a Cavern That Overlooks the River Avon

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

Avon, the River (Lower)

For a Cavern That Overlooks the River Avon

By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

ENTER this cavern, Stranger! Here, awhile

Respiring from the long and steep ascent,

Thou mayst be glad of rest, and haply too

Of shade, if from the summer’s westering sun

Sheltered beneath this beetling vault of rock.

Round the rude portal clasping its rough arms,

The antique ivy spreads a canopy,

From whose gray blossoms the wild bees collect

In autumn their last store. The Muses love

This spot; believe a Poet who hath felt

Their visitation here. The tide below,

Rising or refluent, scarcely sends its sound

Of waters up; and from the heights beyond,

Where the high-hanging forest waves and sways,

Varying before the wind its verdant hues,

The voice is music here. Here thou mayst feel

How good, how lovely, Nature! And when, hence

Returning to the city’s crowded streets,

Thy sickening eye at every step revolts

From scenes of vice and wretchedness, reflect

That Man creates the evil he endures.