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

Windsor Forest

Windsor Forest

By Alexander Pope (1688–1744)

(From Windsor Forest)

THE GROVES of Eden, vanished now so long,

Live in description, and look green in song:

These, were my breast inspired with equal flame,

Like them in beauty, should be like in fame.

Here hills and vales, the woodland and the plain,

Here earth and water, seem to strive again;

Not chaos-like together crushed and bruised,

But, as the world, harmoniously confused:

Where order in variety we see,

And where, though all things differ, all agree.

Here waving groves a checkered scene display,

And part admit and part exclude the day;

As some coy nymph her lover’s warm address

Nor quite indulges, nor can quite repress.

There, interspersed in lawns and opening glades,

Thin trees arise that shun each other’s shades.

Here in full light the russet plains extend;

There, wrapt in clouds, the bluish hills ascend.

Even the wild heath displays her purple dyes,

And, midst the desert, fruitful fields arise,

That, crowned with tufted trees and springing corn,

Like verdant isles the sable waste adorn.

Let India boast her plants, nor envy we

The weeping amber or the balmy tree,

While by our oaks the precious loads are born,

And realms commanded which those trees adorn.

Nor proud Olympus yields a nobler sight,

Though gods assembled grace his towering height,

Than what more humble mountains offer here,

Where, in their blessings, all those gods appear.

See Pan with flocks, with fruits Pomona crowned;

Here blushing Flora paints the enamelled ground;

Here Ceres’ gifts in waving prospect stand,

And, nodding, tempt the joyful reaper’s hand;

Rich Industry sits smiling on the plains,

And peace and plenty tell, a Stuart reigns.


See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs,

And mounts exulting on triumphant wings:

Short is his joy; he feels the fiery wound,

Flutters in blood, and, panting, beats the ground.

Ah! what avail his glossy, varying dyes,

His purple crest, and scarlet-circled eyes,

The vivid green his shining plumes unfold,

His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold?

Nor yet, when moist Arcturus clouds the sky,

The woods and fields their pleasing toils deny.

To plains with well-breathed beagles we repair,

And trace the mazes of the circling hare

(Beasts, urged by us, their fellow-beasts pursue,

And learn of man each other to undo).

With slaughtering guns the unwearied fowler roves,

When frosts have whitened all the naked groves;

Where doves in flocks the leafless trees o’ershade,

And lonely woodcocks haunt the watery glade.

He lifts the tube, and levels with his eye;

Strait a short thunder breaks the frozen sky:

Oft, as in airy rings they skim the heath,

The clamorous lapwings feel the leaden death;

Oft, as the mounting larks their notes prepare,

They fall, and leave their little lives in air.

In genial spring, beneath the quivering shade,

Where cooling vapors breathe along the mead,

The patient fisher takes his silent stand,

Intent, his angle trembling in his hand;

With looks unmoved, he hopes the scaly breed,

And eyes the dancing cork and bending reed.

Our plenteous streams a various race supply,—

The bright-eyed perch with fins of Tyrian dye;

The silver eel, in shining volumes rolled;

The yellow carp, in scales bedropped with gold;

Swift trouts, diversified with crimson stains;

And pikes, the tyrants of the watery plains.


Thy trees, fair Windsor! now shall leave their woods,

And half thy forests rush into thy floods,

Bear Britain’s thunder, and her cross display,

To the bright regions of the rising day;

Tempt icy seas, where scarce the waters roll,

Where clearer flames glow round the frozen pole;

Or under southern skies exalt their sails,

Led by new stars, and borne by spicy gales!

For me the balm shall bleed, and amber flow,

The coral redden, and the ruby glow,

The pearly shell its lucid globe infold,

And Phœbus warm the ripening ore to gold.

The time shall come, when free as seas or wind

Unbounded Thames shall flow for all mankind,

Whole nations enter with each swelling tide,

And seas but join the regions they divide;

Earth’s distant ends our glory shall behold,

And the new world launch forth to seek the old.