Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  For a Tablet at Penshurst

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


For a Tablet at Penshurst

By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

ARE days of old familiar to thy mind,

O Reader? Hast thou let the midnight hour

Pass unperceived, whilst thou in fancy lived

With high-born beauties and enamored chiefs,

Sharing their hopes, and, with a breathless joy

Whose expectation touched the verge of pain,

Following their dangerous fortunes? If such lore

Hath ever thrilled thy bosom, thou wilt tread

As with a pilgrim’s reverential thoughts

The groves of Penshurst. Sidney here was born,—

Sidney, than whom no gentler, braver man

His own delightful genius ever feigned,

Illustrating the vales of Arcady

With courteous courage and with loyal loves.

Upon his natal day an acorn here

Was planted; it grew up a stately oak,

And in the beauty of its strength it stood

And flourished, when his perishable part

Had mouldered dust to dust. That stately oak

Itself hath mouldered now, but Sidney’s fame

Endureth in his own immortal works.