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


The River

By George Crabbe (1754–1832)

(From The Borough)

WITH ceaseless motion comes and goes the tide,

Flowing, it fills the channel vast and wide;

Then back to sea, with strong majestic sweep

It rolls, in ebb yet terrible and deep;

Here samphire-banks and salt-wort bound the flood,

There stakes and sea-weeds withering on the mud;

And higher up, a ridge of all things base,

Which some strong tide has rolled upon the place.

Thy gentle river boasts its pygmy boat,

Urged on by pains, half grounded, half afloat;

While at her stern an angler takes his stand,

And marks the fish he purposes to land

From that clear space, where, in the cheerful ray

Of the warm sun, the scaly people play.

Far other craft our prouder river shows,

Hoys, pinks, and sloops; brigs, brigantines, and snows:

Nor angler we on our wide stream descry,

But one poor dredger where his oysters lie:

He, cold and wet, and driving with the tide,

Beats his weak arms against his tarry side,

Then drains the remnant of diluted gin,

To aid the warmth that languishes within;

Renewing oft his poor attempts to beat

His tingling fingers into gathering heat.