Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV. 1876–79.

Spain: Plasencia


By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

(From Retrospective Musings, Written January 15, 1797)

BUT, when the eve came on,

How did the lovely landscape fill my heart!

The near ascent arose with little rocks

Varied, and trees: the vale was wooded well

With oaks now cheerful in their wintry leaves,

And ancient cork-trees through their wrinkled barks

Bursting, and the rich olive underneath

Whose blessed shade the green herb greener grows

And fuller is the harvest: many a stream

That from the neighboring hill descended clear

Wound vocal through the valley: the church tower,

Marking the haven near of that day’s toil,

Rose o’er the wood. But still the charmed eye

Dwelt lingering o’er Plasencia’s fertile plain,

And loved to mark the bordering mountain’s snow

Pale-purpled as the evening dim decayed.

The murmurs of the goat-herd’s scattered flock

Died on the quiet air, and sailing slow

The heavy stork sought on the church-tower top

His fancy-hallowed nest. O pleasant scenes!

With deep delight I saw you, yet my heart

Sunk in me as the frequent thought would rise

That here was none to love me. Often still

I think of you, and Memory’s mystic power

Bids me re-live the past; and I have traced

The fleeting visions ere her mystic power

Wax weak, and on the feeble eye of age

The faint-formed scenes decay. Befits me now

Fix on futurity the steady ken,

And tread with steady step the onward road.