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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Switzerland and Austria: Vol. XVI. 1876–79.

Austria: Traun, the River

To the River Traun

By Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton (1809–1885)

MY heart is in a mountain mood,

Though I am bound to tread the plain,

She will away for ill or good,—

I cannot lure her back again;

So let her go,—God speed her flight

O’er racy glebe and columned town,

I know that she will rest ere night

By the remembered banks of Traun.

And she will pray her sister Muse,

Sister, companion, friend, and guide,

Her every art and grace to use,

For love of that well-cherished tide;

But words are weak,—she cannot reach

By such poor steps that Beauty’s crown;

How can the Muse to others teach

What were to me the banks of Traun?

She can repeat the faithful tale

That “where thy genial waters flow,

All objects the rare crystal hail,

And cast their voices far below;

And there the steadfast echoes rest

Till the old sun himself goes down,

Till darkness falls on every breast,

Even on thine, transparent Traun.”

And she can say, “Where’er thou art,

Brawling mid rocks, or calm-embayed,

Outpouring thy abundant heart

In ample lake or deep cascade,—

Whatever dress thy sides adorn,

Fresh-dewy leaves or fir-stems brown,

Or ruby-dripping barberry-thorn,

Thou art thyself, delightful Traun!

“No glacier-mountains, harshly bold,

Whose peaks disturb the summer air,

And make the gentle blue so cold,

And hurt our warmest thoughts, are there;

But upland meadows lush with rills,

Soft-green as is the love-bird’s down,

And quaintest forms of pine-clad hills

Are thy fit setting, jewelled Traun!”

But the wise Muse need not be told,

Though fair and just her song may seem,

The same has oft been sung of old,

Of many a less deserving stream;

For where would be the worth of sight,

If Love could feed on blank renown?

They who have loved the Traun aright

Have sat beside the banks of Traun.