Lines written near Richmond, upon the Thames


Written upon the Thames, near Richmond.

Glide gently, thus for ever glide
O Thames! that other Bards may see
As lovely visions by thy side
As now, fair River! come to me.
Oh glide, fair Stream! for ever so; 5
Thy quiet soul on all bestowing,
’Till all our minds for ever flow,
As thy deep waters now are flowing.
Vain thought! yet be as now thou art,
That in thy waters may be seen10
The image of a poet’s heart,
How bright, how solemn, how serene!
Such as did once the Poet bless,
Who, pouring here a * later ditty,
Could find no refuge from distress,15
But in the milder grief of pity.
Now let us, as we float along,
For him suspend the dashing oar;
And pray that never child of Song
May know that Poet’s sorrows more.20
How calm! how still! the only sound,
The dripping of the oar suspended!
—The evening darkness gathers round
By virtue’s holiest Powers attended.

(* Collins’s Ode on the death of Thompson, the last written, I believe, of the poems which were published during his life-time. This Ode is also alluded to in the next stanza.)