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


The Swans of Wilton

By Anonymous

O, HOW the swans of Wilton

Twenty abreast did go,

Like country girls bound for the church,

Sails set and all aglow!

With pouting breast in pure white dressed

Softly gliding in a row.

Where through the weed’s green fleeces,

The perch in brazen coat,

The golden shuttles mermaids use

Shot past my crimson float;

Where swinish carp were snoring loud

Around the anchored boat.

Adown the gentle river

The white swans bore in sail,

Their full, soft feathers puffing out

Like canvas in the gale;

And all the kine and dappled deer

Stood watching in the vale.

The stately swans of Wilton

Strutted and puffed along,

Like canons in their full white gowns

Late for an evening song,

When up the vale the peevish bell

In vain has chided long.

O, how the swans of Wilton

Bore down the radiant stream!

As calm as holy hermits’ lives,

Or a play-tired infant’s dream;

Like fairy beds of last year’s snow,

Did these radiant creatures seem.