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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV. 1876–79.

Portugal: Alemtejo

Written in Alemtejo

By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

WHEN, at morn, the muleteer

With early call announces day,

Sorrowing that early call I hear,

Which scares the visions of delight away;

For dear to me the silent hour

When sleep exerts its wizard power,

And busy Fancy, then let free,

Borne on the wings of Hope, my Edith, flies to thee.

When the slant sunbeams crest

The mountain’s shadowy breast;

When on the upland slope

Shines the green myrtle wet with morning dew,

And, lovely as the youthful dreams of Hope,

The dim-seen landscape opens on the view,—

I gaze around, with raptured eyes,

On Nature’s charms, where no illusion lies,

And drop the joy and memory-mingled tear,

And sigh to think that Edith is not here.

At the cool hour of even,

When all is calm and still,

And o’er the western hill

A richer radiance robes the mellowed heaven,

Absorbed in darkness thence,

When slowly fades in night

The dim, decaying light,

Like the fair day-dreams of Benevolence,

Fatigued and sad and slow,

Along my lonely way I go,

And muse upon the distant day,

And sigh, remembering Edith far away.

When late arriving at our inn of rest,

Whose roof, exposed to many a winter’s sky,

Half shelters from the wind the shivering guest,

By the lamp’s melancholy gloom,

I see the miserable room,

And, musing on the evils that arise

From disproportioned inequalities,

Pray that my lot may be

Neither with riches nor with poverty,

But in that happy mean

Which for the soul is best,

And with contentment blest,

In some secluded glen

To dwell with peace and Edith far from men.