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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.

Lewesdon Hill

Lewesdon Hill

By William Crowe (1745–1829)

FROM this proud eminence on all sides round

The unbroken prospect opens to my view,

On all sides large; save only where the head

Of Pillesdon rises, Pillesdon’s lofty Pen:

So call (still rendering to his ancient name

Observance due) that rival height southwest,

Which, like a rampire, bounds the vale beneath.

There woods, there blooming orchards, there are seen

Herds ranging, or at rest beneath the shade

Of some wide-branching oak; there goodly fields

Of corn, and verdant pasture, whence the kine,

Returning with their milky treasure home,

Store the rich dairy: such fair plenty fills

The pleasant vale of Marshwood, pleasant now,

Since that the spring hath decked anew the meads

With flowery vesture, and the warmer sun

Their foggy moistness drained; in wintry days

Cold, vaporish, miry, wet, and to the flocks

Unfriendly, when autumnal rains begin

To drench the spongy turf; but ere that time

The careful shepherd moves to healthier soil,

Rechasing, lest his tender ewes should coath

In the dank pasturage. Let not the fields

Of Evesham, nor that ample valley named

Of the White Horse, its antique monument

Carved in the chalky bourn, for beauty and wealth

Might equal, though surpassing in extent,

This fertile vale, in length from Lewesdon’s base

Extended to the sea, and watered well

By many a rill; but chief with thy clear stream,

Thou nameless Rivulet, who, from the side

Of Lewesdon softly welling forth, dost trip

Adown the valley, wandering sportively.


How is it vanished in a hasty spleen,

The Tor of Glastonbury! Even but now

I saw the hoary pile cresting the top

Of that northwestern hill; and in this Now

A cloud hath passed on it, and its dim bulk

Becomes annihilate, or, if not, a spot

Which the strained vision tires itself to find.


But hark! the village clock strikes nine; the chimes

Merrily follow, tuneful to the sense

Of the pleased clown attentive, while they make

False-measured melody on crazy bells.

O wondrous power of modulated sound!

Which, like the air (whose all-obedient shape

Thou mak’st thy slave), canst subtilely pervade

The yielded avenues of sense, unlock

The close affections, by some fairy path

Winning an easy way through every ear,

And with thine unsubstantial quality

Holding in mighty chains the hearts of all,—

All but some cold and sullen-tempered spirits

Who feel no touch of sympathy or love.