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



By Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)

(From Rokeby)

WHEN Denmark’s raven soared on high,

Triumphant through Northumbrian sky,

Till, hovering near, her fatal croak

Bade Reged’s Britons dread the yoke,

And the broad shadow of her wing

Blackened each cataract and spring,

Where Tees in tumult leaves his source,

Thundering o’er Caldron and High-Force;

Beneath the shade the Northmen came,

Fixed on each vale a Runic name,

Reared high their altar’s rugged stone,

And gave their gods the land they won.

Then, Balder, one bleak garth was thine,

And one sweet brooklet’s silver line,

And Woden’s Croft did title gain

From the stern Father of the Slain;

But to the Monarch of the Mace,

That held in fight the foremost place,

To Odin’s son and Sifia’s spouse,

Near Stratforth high they paid their vows,

Remembered Thor’s victorious fame,

And gave the dell the Thunderer’s name.

Yet Scald or Kemper erred, I ween,

Who gave that soft and quiet scene,

With all its varied light and shade,

And every little sunny glade,

And the blithe brook that strolls along

Its pebbled bed with summer song,

To the grim god of blood and scar,

The grisly King of Northern War.

O, better were its banks assigned

To spirits of a gentler kind!

For where the thicket-groups recede,

And the rath primrose decks the mead,

The velvet grass seems carpet meet

For the light fairies’ lively feet.

Yon tufted knoll, with daisies strown,

Might make proud Oberon a throne,

While, hidden in the thicket nigh,

Puck should brood o’er his frolic sly;

And where profuse the wood-vetch clings

Round ash and elm, in verdant rings,

Its pale and azure-pencilled flower

Should canopy Titania’s bower.

Here rise no cliffs the vale to shade;

But, skirting every sunny glade,

In fair variety of green

The woodland lends its sylvan screen.

Hoary, yet haughty, frowns the oak,

Its boughs by weight of ages broke;

And towers erect, in sable spire,

The pine-tree scathed by lightning-fire;

The drooping ash and birch, between,

Hang their fair tresses o’er the green,

And all beneath, at random grow

Each coppice dwarf of varied show;

Or, round the stems profusely twined,

Fling summer odors on the wind.