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


The Fountain at Vaucluse

By Sir William Jones (1746–1794)

(From Laura, an Elegy from Petrarch)

NOT far removed, yet hid from distant eyes,

Low in her secret grot, a Naiad lies.

Steep, arching rocks, with verdant moss o’ergrown,

Form her rude diadem and native throne:

There in a gloomy cave her waters sleep,

Clear as a brook, but as an ocean deep.

Yet, when the waking flowers of April blow,

And warmer sunbeams melt the gathered snow,

Rich with the tribute of the vernal rains,

The nymph, exulting, bursts her silver chains;

Her living waves in sparkling columns rise,

And shine like rainbows to the sunny skies;

From cliff to cliff the falling waters roar,

Then die in murmurs, and are heard no more.

Hence, softly flowing in a dimpled stream,

The crystal Sorga spreads a lively gleam,

From which a thousand rills in mazes glide,

And deck the banks with summer’s gayest pride,

Brighten the verdure of the smiling plains,

And crown the labor of the joyful swains.

First, on these banks, (all, dream of short delight!)

The charms of Laura struck my dazzled sight;

Charms that the bliss of Eden might restore,

That heaven might envy, and mankind adore.

I saw,—and O, what heart could long rebel?

I saw, I loved, and bade the world farewell.

Where’er she moved, the meads were fresh and gay,

And every bower exhaled the sweets of May;

Smooth flowed the streams, and softly blew the gale;

The rising flowers impurpled every dale;

Calm was the ocean, and the sky serene;

An universal smile o’erspread the shining scene:

But when in death’s cold arms entranced she lay,

(Ah, ever dear, yet ever fatal day!)

O’er all the air a direful gloom was spread;

Pale were the meads, and all their blossoms dead;

The clouds of April shed a baleful dew;

All nature wore a veil of deadly hue.