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

Thames, the River

The Thames

By Barry Cornwall (1787–1874)

(From Il Penseroso and L’Allegro: Night)

OLD Thames! thy merry waters run

Gloomily now, without star or sun!

The wind blows o’er thee, wild and loud,

And heaven is in its death-black shroud;

And the rain comes down with all its might,

Darkening the face of the sullen Night.

Midnight dies! There booms a sound,

From all the church-towers thundering round;

Their echoes into each other run,

And sing out the grand night’s awful “One!”

Saint Bride, Saint Sepulchre, great Saint Paul,

Unto each other, in chorus, call!

Who speaks? ’T was nothing: the patrol grim

Moves stealthily o’er the pavement dim;

The debtor dreams of the gripe of law;

The harlot goes staggering to her straw;

And the drunken robber, and beggar bold

Laugh loud, as they limp by the Bailey Old.

Hark,—I hear the blood in a felon’s heart!

I see him shiver—and heave—and start

(Does he cry?) from his last short bitter slumber,

To find that his days have reached their number,—

To feel that there comes, with the morning text,

Blind death, and the scaffold, and then—what next?

Sound, stormy Autumn! Brazen bell,

Into the morning send your knell!

Mourn, Thames! keep firm your chant of sorrow;

Mourn, men! for a fellow-man dies to-morrow.

Alas! none mourn; none care;—the debt

Of pity the whole wide world forget!