Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV. 1876–79.

Belgium: Ghent


By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

(From The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo)

EUROPE can boast no richer, goodlier scene

Than that through which our pleasant passage lay,

By fertile fields and fruitful gardens green,

The journey of a short autumnal day;

Sleek well-fed steeds our steady vessel drew,

The heavens were fair, and Mirth was of our crew.

Along the smooth canal’s unbending line,

Beguiling time with light discourse, we went,

Nor wanting savory food nor generous wine.

Ashore too there was feast and merriment;

The jovial peasants at some village fair

Were dancing, drinking, smoking, gambling there.

Of these, or of the ancient towers of Ghent

Renowned, I must not tarry now to tell;

Of picture or of church or monument;

Nor how we mounted to that ponderous bell,

The Belfroy’s boast, which bears old Roland’s name,

Nor yields to Oxford Tom, or Tom of Lincoln’s fame.

Nor of that sisterhood whom to their rule

Of holy life no hasty vows restrain,

Who, meek disciples of the Christian school,

Watch by the bed of sickness and of pain:

O, what a strength divine doth Faith impart

To inborn goodness in the female heart!