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



By Francis Coventry (1725?–1759)

GENIUS of Penshurst old!

Who saw’st the birth of each immortal oak,

Here sacred from the stroke;

And all thy tenants of yon turrets bold

Inspir’st to arts or arms;

Where Sidney his Arcadian landscape drew,

Genuine from thy Doric view;

And patriot Algernon unshaken rose

Above insulting foes;

And Sacharissa nursed her angel charms.

O, suffer me with sober tread

To enter on thy holy shade;

Bid smoothly gliding Medway stand,

And wave his sedgy tresses bland,

A stranger let him kindly greet,

And pour his urn beneath my feet.


But come, the minutes flit away,

And eager Fancy longs to stray:

Come, friendly Genius! lead me round

Thy sylvan haunts and magic ground;

Point every spot of hill or dale,

And tell me, as we tread the vale,

“Here mighty Dudley once would rove,

To plan his triumphs in the grove:

There looser Waller, ever gay,

With Sachariss in dalliance lay;

And Philip, sidelong yonder spring,

His lavish carols wont to sing.”

Hark! I hear the echoes call,

Hark! the rushing waters fall;

Lead me to the green retreats,

Guide me to the Muses’ seats,

Where ancient bards retirement chose,

Or ancient lovers wept their woes.

What Genius points to yonder oak?

What rapture does my soul provoke?

There let me hang a garland high,

There let my Muse her accents try;

Be there my earliest homage paid,

Be there my latest vigils made:

For thou wast planted in the earth

The day that shone on Sidney’s birth.


Meanwhile attention loves to mark

The deer that crop the shaven park,

The steep-browed hill, or forest wild,

The sloping lawns, and zephyrs mild,

The clouds that blush with evening red,

Or meads with silver fountains fed,

The fragrance of the new-mown hay,

And blackbird chanting on the spray;

The calm farewell of parting light,

And evening saddening into night.