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

Nether Stowey

Nether Stowey

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)

(From Fears in Solitude)

A GREEN and silent spot amid the hills,

A small and silent dell! O’er stiller place

No singing skylark ever poised himself.

The hills are heathy, save that swelling slope

Which hath a gay and gorgeous covering on,

All golden with the never-bloomless furze,

Which now blooms most profusely; but the dell,

Bathed by the mist, is fresh and delicate

As vernal cornfield, or the unripe flax,

When through its half-transparent stalks, at eve,

The level sunshine glimmers with green light.

O, ’t is a quiet, spirit-healing nook!

Which all, methinks, would love; but chiefly he,

The humble man, who in his youthful years

Knew just so much of folly as had made

His early manhood more securely wise!

Here he might lie on fern or withered heath,

While from the singing-lark (that sings unseen

The minstrelsy that solitude loves best),

And from the sun, and from the breezy air,

Sweet influences trembled o’er his frame;

And he, with many feelings, many thoughts,

Made up a meditative joy, and found

Religious meanings in the forms of nature!

And so, his senses gradually wrapt

In a half-sleep, he dreams of better worlds,

And dreaming hears thee still, O singing-lark,

That singest like an angel in the clouds!


But now the gentle dewfall sends abroad

The fruit-like perfume of the golden furze:

The light has left the summit of the hill,

Though still a sunny gleam lies beautiful,

Aslant the ivied beacon. Now farewell,

Farewell, awhile, O soft and silent spot!

On the green sheep-track, up the heathy hill,

Homeward I wind my way; and lo! recalled

From bodings that have wellnigh wearied me

I find myself upon the brow, and pause,

Startled! And after lonely sojourning

In such a quiet and surrounded nook,

This burst of prospect, here the shadowy main

Dim tinted, there the mighty majesty

Of that huge amphitheatre of rich

And elmy fields, seems like society,—

Conversing with the mind, and giving it

A livelier impulse and a dance of thought!

And now, belovéd Stowey! I behold

Thy church-tower, and, methinks, the four huge elms

Clustering, which mark the mansion of my friend;

And close behind them, hidden from my view,

Is my own lowly cottage, where my babe

And my babe’s mother dwell in peace! With light

And quickened footsteps thitherward I tend,

Remembering thee, O green and silent dell!

And grateful that by nature’s quietness

And solitary musings all my heart

Is softened, and made worthy to indulge

Love, and the thoughts that yearn for human-kind.