Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII. 1876–79.



By Alexander Smith (1830–1867)

(From Horton)

WHEN that swallows’ haunt,

St. Stephen’s, with its showers of silvery chimes,

Stood black against the red, dilated sun,

Labor laid down his tools and went away.

The park was loud with games; clear laughter, shrieks,

Came from the rings of girls amid the trees;

The cricketers were eager at their play;

The stream was dotted with the swimmers’ heads;

Gay boats flashed up and down. The level sun

Poured o’er the sward a farewell gush of light,

And Sport transfigured stood! I hurried on,

Through all the mirth, to where the river ran,

In the gray evening, ’tween the hanging woods,

With a soul-soothing murmur. Seated there,

The darkness closing round me, I could see

A lonely angler like a heron stand,

And hear the blackbird piping to the eve,

And smell the wild-rose on the dewy air.

I reached the park hours later,—what a change!

The full moon filled the universal night;

The stream ran white with lustre; walks and trees

Threw their long shadows; a few kine lay dark

In lanes and squares of moonlight; far away

The pallid rim of night was touched with fires;

Stillness was deep as death.


Across the moonlight spaces and the shades

I walked in silence, through pale silver streets,

Athwart a desolate and moon-bleached square,

Over a white and solitary bridge,

Until I reached my home. I oped the door,

And ere it closed, I heard a distant spire

Start in its sleep, and murmur of an hour.