Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  The Wilds of Arvon

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

Wales: Arvon

The Wilds of Arvon

By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

(From Madoc)

NOW hath Prince Madoc left the holy isle,

And homeward to Aberfraw, through the wilds

Of Arvon, bent his course. A little way

He turned aside, by natural impulses

Moved, to behold Cadwallon’s lonely hut.

That lonely dwelling stood among the hills,

By a gray mountain-stream; just elevate

Above the winter torrents did it stand,

Upon a craggy bank; an orchard slope

Arose behind, and joyous was the scene

In early summer, when those antic trees

Shone with their blushing blossoms, and the flax

Twinkled beneath the breeze its liveliest green.

But save the flax-field and that orchard slope,

All else was desolate, and now it wore

One sober hue; the narrow vale which wound

Among the hills was gray with rocks, that peered

Above the shallow soil; the mountain side

Was loose with stones bestrewn, which oftentimes

Clattered adown the steep, beneath the foot

Of straggling goat dislodged; or towered with crags,

One day when winter’s work had loosened them,

To thunder down. All things assorted well

With that gray mountain hue; the low stone lines,

Which scarcely seemed to be the work of man,

The dwelling rudely reared with stones unhewn,

The stubble flax, the crooked apple-trees

Gray with their fleecy moss and mistletoe,

The white-barked birch now leafless, and the ash

Whose knotted roots were like the rifted rock,

Through which they forced their way. Adown the vale,

Broken by stones and o’er a stony bed,

Rolled the loud mountain-stream.