Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  On a Grotto near the Thames at Twickenham

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

Thames, the River

On a Grotto near the Thames at Twickenham

By Alexander Pope (1688–1744)

THOU who shalt stop where Thames’ translucent wave

Shines a broad mirror through the shadowy cave,

Where lingering drops from mineral roofs distil,

And pointed crystals break the sparkling rill,

Unpolished gems no ray on pride bestow,

And latent metals innocently glow:

Approach. Great nature studiously behold!

And eye the mine without a wish for gold.

Approach: but aweful! Lo the Egerian grott,

Where, nobly-pensive, St. John sate and thought;

Where British sighs from dying Wyndham stole,

And the bright flame was shot through Marchmont’s soul.

Let such, such only, tread the sacred floor,

Who dare to love their country, and be poor.