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

Richmond, Surry


By John Kenyon (1784–1856)

THAMES swept along in summer pride,

Sparkling beneath his verdant edge;

With frolic kiss, as half denied,

Light airs were glancing o’er the tide,

Or whispering in the secret sedge.

Cheerful the landscape’s sunny green,

Yet still, in pensive mood reclined,

Pondering of things to be, or been,

I shrank at many a visioned scene

Of fear, before; of grief, behind.

The insect tribes, but newly born,

Were flaunting in the awakening ray;

In me they woke no touch of scorn;

I saw them frail, but more to mourn

The kindred doom of man’s decay.

For here, of old, his booty won,

The Dane caroused in barbarous glee,

Or Roman veteran, toil-foredone,

Lay stretched beneath the westering sun,

In dreams of pleasant Italy.

Or floating by, in gallant show,

Gay beauty glanced at monarch’s jest,

Nor marked where, high above the prow,

Mid mirth and wine, and music’s flow,

Sat Change,—a dark and threatening guest.

Their mirth is sped; their gravest theme

Sleeps with the things that cease to be;

Their longest life, a morning gleam;

A bubble bursting on the stream,

Then swept to Time’s unfathomed sea.

Yes! all, beneath or change or chance,

And passing, like the passing river,

The wassail shout, the dreamer’s trance,

And monarch’s jest, and beauty’s glance,

Were human all, and gone forever!