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

Dart, the River

The River Dart

By Sydney Hodges (b. 1829)

THE QUIET of the moonlight hour

Is stealing softly o’er my heart;

It has a deep yet nameless power,

That language cannot all impart.

I turn my steed upon the hill,

The silver Dart glides on below;

And all the vale, so lone and still,

Is bathed in one broad moonlight glow.

Beneath the garish beam of day

I ’ve often marked this scene before,

When field and hill and moorland gray

One aspect broad of beauty wore.

I ’ve seen the hills’ majestic sweep

Reflected from the waters clear,

But never felt a charm so deep

As this which now enchains me here.

It is the solemn, silent thought,

Evoked by this impressive scene,

That makes it more with beauty fraught,

And dearer than it erst has been.

There ’s such a silence o’er the hills,

Such softness o’er the stream below,

My heart with so much rapture fills,

I pause, and cannot turn to go.

I ’ve never known a fairer scene,

A beauty matched with thine, sweet Dart!

Thou leav’st, like some soft passing dream,

An endless memory on the heart.

Like gems upon the brow of Sleep

The moonbeams on thy waters rest;

And I could almost turn and weep,

So strangely do they move my breast.


I would my life were like thy stream,

O silent and majestic Dart!

Of what wild beauties should I dream,

What visions sweet would throng my heart.

Eternal pleasures round my way

Would never cease to rise and shine;

And girt with beauty, day by day,

O what a matchless course were mine!

I linger still, and still I gaze,

And deeper grows my heart’s delight;

My spirit swells to silent praise,

And mingles with the infinite.

O beauteous night! O starry skies!

O stream below! O moon above!

Such mingled glories round me rise,

I have no words to speak my love.

Across my spirit as I gaze

There comes a calmer sense of life,

Whose influence seems my soul to raise

Above the common toil and strife.

A pensive calm, an inward glow

Of holy thoughts too seldom given,

That seem to bless me as I go,

And whisper like a voice from heaven.