Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Reminiscences

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

St. Malo


By François-René de Chateaubriand (1768–1848)

Translated by John Oxenford

MY childhood’s home, that pleasant spot

By me can never be forgot!

How happy, sister, then appeared

Our country’s lot,

O France! to me be still endeared,

Be still revered.

Our mother’s form remember’st thou?

I see her by the chimney now,

Where oft she clasped us to her breast,

While on her brow

Our lips the white locks fondly pressed;

Then were we blessed!

And, sister, thou remember’st yet

The castle, which the stream would wet;

And that strange Moorish tower, so old,

Thou ’lt not forget;

How from its bell the deep sound rolled,

And day foretold.

Remember’st thou the lake’s calm blue?

The swallow brushed it as he flew,—

How with the reeds the breezes played;

The evening hue

With which the waters bright were made

In gold arrayed.

One image more,—of all the best,—

The maid whom to my heart I pressed

As, youthful lovers, we would stray,

In moments blest,

About the wood for wild-flowers gay,—

Past, past away!

O, give my Helen back to me,—

My mountain and my old oak-tree;

I mourn their loss, I feel how drear

My life must be;

But, France! to me thou wilt appear

Forever dear.