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

Thames, the River


By Isabella Craig Knox (1831–1903)

A GLIMPSE of the river! it glimmers

Through the stems of the beeches;

Through the screen of the willows it shimmers

In long winding reaches;

Flowing so softly that scarcely

It seems to be flowing,

But the reeds of the low little islands

Are bent to its going;

And soft as the breath of a sleeper

Its heaving and sighing,

In the coves where the fleets of the lilies

At anchor are lying:

It looks as if fallen asleep

In the lap of the meadows, and smiling

Like a child in the grass, dreaming deep

Of the flowers and their golden beguiling.

A glimpse of the river! it glooms

Underneath the dark arches;

Across it the broad shadow looms,

And the eager crowd marches;

Where waiting the feet of the city,

Strong and swift it is flowing;

On its bosom the ships of the nations

Are coming and going;

Heavy laden, it labors and spends,

In a great strain of duty,

The power that was gathered and nursed

In the calm and the beauty.

Like thee, noble river, like thee!

Let our lives in beginning and ending

Fair in their gathering be,

And great in the time of their spending.