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

Belgium: Ligny


By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

(From The Poet’s Pilgrimage)

EASTWARD from hence we struck, and reached the field

Of Ligny, where the Prussian, on that day

By far-outnumbering force constrained to yield,

Fronted the foe, and held them still at bay;

And in that brave defeat acquired fresh claim

To glory, and enhanced his country’s fame.

Here was a scene which Fancy might delight

To treasure up among her cherished stores,

And bring again before the inward sight

Often when she recalls the long-past hours:

Well-cultured hill and dale extending wide,

Hamlets and village spires on every side;

The autumnal-tinted groves; the upland mill

Which oft was won and lost amid the fray;

Green pastures watered by the silent rill;

The lordly Castle yielding to decay,

With bridge and barbican and moat and tower,

A fairer sight perchance than when it frowned in power:

The avenue before its ruined gate,

Which when the Castle, suffering less from time

Than havoc, hath foregone its strength and state,

Uninjured flourisheth in nature’s prime;

To us a grateful shade did it supply,

Glad of that shelter from the noontide sky.