Landon in The Improvisatrice; and Other Poems/Home
I left my home;—'twas in a little vale,
Sheltered from snow-storms by the stately pines;
A small clear river wandered quietly,
Its smooth waves only cut by the light barks
Of fishers, and but darkened by the shade
The willows flung, when to the southern wind
They threw their long green tresses. On the slope
Were five or six white cottages, whose roofs
Reached not to the laburnum's height, whose boughs
Shook over them bright showers of golden bloom.
Sweet silence reigned around:—no other sound
Came on the air, than when the shepherd made
The reed-pipe rudely musical, or notes
From the wild birds, or children in their play
Sending forth shouts or laughter. Strangers came
Rarely or never near the lonely place....
I went into far countries. Years past by,
But still that vale in silent beauty dwelt
Within my memory. Home I came at last.
I stood upon a mountain height, and looked
Into the vale below; and smoke arose,
And heavy sounds; and through the thick dim air
Shot blackened turrets, and brick walls, and roofs
Of the red tile. I entered in the streets:
There were ten thousand hurrying to and fro;
And masted vessels stood upon the river,
And barges sullied the once dew-clear stream.
Where were the willows, where the cottages?
I sought my home; I sought and found a city,
Alas! for the green valley!