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


On the Bridge at Poissy

By Bessie Rayner Parkes (1829–1925)


At Poissy on the Seine,

As I leant above the river,

Flooded high with summer rain.

Dear is that royal river;

With ceaseless, noiseless flow,

Past the gray towers of Paris

From the woods of Fontainebleau!

The nightingales were singing

In the rosy sunset air;

The silver chimes were ringing,

“Christians, come to prayer!”

And I thought the invitation

Uttered ever, eve and morn,

Was the voice of good St. Louis

In the town where he was born!

As I leant above the river,

Musing softly all alone,

The bells and birds together

Seemed blended into one;

The rapturous thrill of nature,

So soulless, yet so fair,

Borne up upon the wingéd chimes,

“Christians, come to prayer!”

Fair is the Seine at Poissy,

With its islets crowned by trees,

Fringed by spires of lofty poplars

Trembling in the summer breeze.

Fair is the antique city,

And its church is white as snow;

Built and blessed by good St. Louis,

Built and blessed so long ago!

Louis, being dead, yet liveth

By the waters of the Seine;

Where he trod, his kingdom blossomed;

Where he built, his stones remain;

Where he knelt, his pious accents

Linger softly on the air.

Join, sweet birds, your invitation!

“Christians, come to prayer!”