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


Southampton Water

By William Lisle Bowles (1762–1850)

SMOOTH went our boat upon the summer seas,

Leaving, for so it seemed, the world behind,

Its sounds of mingled uproar; we reclined

Upon the sunny deck, heard but the breeze

That o’er us whispering passed, or idly played

With the lithe flag aloft. A woodland scene

On either side drew its slope line of green,

And hung the water’s shining edge with shade.

Above the woods, Netley! thy ruins pale

Peered as we passed; and Vecta’s azure hue

Beyond the misty castle met our view;

Where in mid channel hung the scarce-seen sail.

So all was calm and sunshine as we went

Cheerily o’er the briny element.

O, were this little boat to us the world,

As thus we wandered far from sounds of care,

Circled by friends and gentle maidens fair,

Whilst morning airs the waving pennant curled;

How sweet were life’s long voyage till in peace

We gained that haven still, where all things cease!