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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Germany: Vols. XVII–XVIII. 1876–79.


The Rhine near Biberich

By Thomas Gold Appleton (1812–1884)

O, THERE be isles within the Rhine,

Which cradle on their mother’s breast,

That breast that loves them all, and heaves

In music through their noonday rest;

And some there be, soft, green, and low,

That as the infant in its pillow

Nestles its drowsy head, so these

Hide half their brightness in the billow.

And others wear the scars of Time

Upon their bleak, ascending towers,

That fill the gazer’s eyes with tears,

Reverting to those sunnier hours,

When at the corselet’s vivid gleam

Blue eyes peeped forth from turret stair,

While jubilant the far-seen train

Waved Christ’s red banner through the air.

And still those shattered, ivied piles

Are nourished with romantic tears,

And phantoms in their own moonshine

Mock the old gleam of feudal spears.

Ay! all are fair; but one I love

So deeply it doth seem mine own,

For I have gazed upon its trees

Till they into my heart have grown.

I see it now, so meekly proud,

Steadfast amid the gliding water,

And proud as should be isle that is

Bower for a Duke’s preferréd daughter.

Therefore its columned sweep of trees

Have something of a courtly bearing,

And e’en its scented thickets wild

Their flowers coquettishly are wearing.

But sure no royal maiden’s foot

Ere pressed the pride of India’s loom

As this, so soft and colored fair,

With turfy slope and glossiest bloom.

It leaves the waves and glances wide

Its living carpet round the isle,

Enclosing in an emerald ring

The dove’s low song, the daisy’s smile.