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

Wales: Bardsey

The Holy Isle

By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

(From Madoc)

TO Bardsey was the lord of ocean bound,—

Bardsey, the holy islet, in whose soil

Did many a chief and many a saint repose,

His great progenitors. He mounts the skiff;

Her canvas swells before the breeze; the sea

Sings round her sparkling keel; and soon the lord

Of ocean treads the venerable shore.

There was not, on that day, a speck to stain

The azure heaven; the blessed sun alone,

In unapproachable divinity,

Careered, rejoicing in his fields of light.

How beautiful, beneath the bright-blue sky,

The billows heave! one glowing green expanse,

Save where along the bending line of shore

Such hue is thrown as when the peacock’s neck

Assumes its proudest tint of amethyst,

Imbathed in emerald glory. All the flocks

Of ocean are abroad; like floating foam,

The sea-gulls rise and fall upon the waves;

With long-protruded neck the cormorants

Wing their far flight aloft; and round and round

The plovers wheel, and give their note of joy.

It was a day that sent into the heart

A summer feeling: even the insect-swarms

From their dark nooks and coverts issued forth,

To sport through one day of existence more;

The solitary primrose on the bank

Seemed now as though it had no cause to mourn

Its bleak autumnal birth; the rocks and shores,

The forest, and the everlasting hills,

Smiled in that joyful sunshine,—they partook

The universal blessing.
To this isle,

Where his forefathers were to dust consigned,

Did Madoc come for natural piety,

Ordering a solemn service for their souls.