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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.

Savoy: Annecy

Les Charmettes

By Thomas Moore (1779–1852)

(From Rhymes on the Road)

I MAY be cold, may want that glow

Of high romance which bards should know;

That holy homage which is felt

In treading where the great have dwelt,—

This reverence, whatsoe’er it be,

I fear, I feel, I have it not;

For here, at this still hour, to me

The charms of this delightful spot,—

Its calm seclusion from the throng,

From all the heart would fain forget,—

This narrow valley, and the song

Of its small murmuring rivulet,—

The flitting to and fro of birds,

Tranquil and tame as they were once

In Eden, ere the startling words

Of man disturbed their orisons!—

Those little shadowy paths, that wind

Up the hillside, with fruit-trees lined,

And lighted only by the breaks

The gay wind in the foliage makes,

Or vistas here and there, that ope

Through weeping willows, like the snatches

Of far-off scenes of light, which hope,

Even through the shade of sadness, catches!—

All this, which, could I once but lose

The memory of those vulgar ties

Whose grossness all the heavenliest hues

Of Genius can no more disguise

Than the sun’s beams can do away

The filth of fens o’er which they play,—

This scene which would have filled my heart

With thoughts of all that happiest is,—

Of love, where self hath only part,

As echoing back another’s bliss,—

Of solitude, secure and sweet,

Beneath whose shade the Virtues meet;

Which, while it shelters, never chills

Our sympathies with human woe,

But keeps them, like sequestered rills,

Purer and fresher in their flow,—

Of happy days that share their beams

’Twixt quiet mirth and wise employ,—

Of tranquil nights that give in dreams

The moonlight of the morning’s joy!

All this my heart could dwell on here,

But for those hateful memories near,

Those sordid truths, that cross the track

Of each sweet thought and drive them back

Full into all the mire and strife

And vanities of that man’s life

Who, more than all that e’er have glowed

With Fancy’s flame (and it was his

If ever given to mortal), showed

What an impostor Genius is.