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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

India: Bengal

If Thou Wert by My Side

By Reginald Heber (1783–1826)

Lines Written to His Wife
While on a Visit to Upper India

IF thou wert by my side, my love,

How fast would evening fail

In green Bengala’s palmy grove,

Listening the nightingale!

If thou, my love, wert by my side,

My babies at my knee,

How gayly would our pinnace glide

O’er Gunga’s mimic sea!

I miss thee at the dawning gray,

When, on our deck reclined,

In careless ease my limbs I lay,

And woo the cooler wind.

I miss thee when by Gunga’s stream

My twilight steps I guide,

But most beneath the lamp’s pale beam

I miss thee from my side.

I spread my books, my pencil try,

The lingering noon to cheer,

But miss thy kind, approving eye,

Thy meek, attentive ear.

But when of morn or eve the star

Beholds me on my knee,

I feel, though thou art distant far,

Thy prayers ascend for me.

Then on! then on! where duty leads,

My course be onward still;

O’er broad Hindostan’s sultry meads,

O’er bleak Almorah’s hill.

That course nor Delhi’s kingly gates

Nor wild Malwah detain;

For sweet the bliss us both awaits

By yonder western main.

Thy towers, Bombay, gleam bright, they say,

Across the dark-blue sea;

But ne’er were hearts so light and gay

As then shall meet in thee!