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

Introductory to Holland


By Oliver Goldsmith (1730–1774)

(From The Traveller)

TO men of other minds my fancy flies,

Embosomed in the deep where Holland lies.

Methinks her patient sons before me stand,

Where the broad ocean leans against the land,

And, sedulous to stop the coming tide,

Lift the tall rampire’s artificial pride.

Onward, methinks, and diligently slow,

The firm connected bulwark seems to grow;

Spreads its long arms amidst the watery roar,

Scoops out an empire, and usurps the shore:

While the pent ocean, rising o’er the pile,

Sees an amphibious world beneath him smile:

The slow canal, the yellow-blossomed vale,

The willow-tufted bank, the gliding sail,

The crowded mart, the cultivated plain,

A new creation rescued from his reign.