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

Seine, the River

On Revisiting the Seine

By Richard Chenevix Trench (1807–1886)

YE are the same, ye meadows and green banks,

And pastures level to the river’s edge;

Ye shores with poplar fringed in graceful ranks,

And towns that nestle under rocky ledge;

Ye island-spots of greenery, fast embraced

By the dividing arms of this fair stream,

Which, parting for a moment, meet in haste,

And then in breadths of lake-like beauty gleam.

The quiet cattle, feeding quietly,

They seem the very same I saw of yore;

And the same picture lives upon mine eye,

Methinks, that lived upon mine eye before.

Fair were ye, seen of old; ye now are fair,

As ye were then; and not a change appears,

Unless that all doth stranger beauty wear,

This time beholden through a mist of tears.

For O ye streams, ye meadows, and ye hills,

To which there cometh no mutation nigh,

Strange trouble at your sight my bosom fills,

You looking at me with this changeless eye.

It troubles me that ye, unfeeling things,

Should be exempted from our tears and fears,

While we, the lords of nature and its kings,

Servile remain to all the changeful years.

On this swift-sliding stream I sail once more,

Whose beauty brings unutterable pain;

For ye who saw with me this sight before,

Three were ye,—but, O, where are now the twain?

Ye are not here,—the floods, the hills, are here,

They look on me with their unaltered eye;

Dowered with a strength eternal they appear,

And we like weak, wan phantoms flitting by.