The Banks of Wye; A Poem. In Four Books, 1811, 1813, 1823. 
CONTENTS OF BOOK IV.
The Gaer, a Roman Station.––Brunless Castle.––The Hay.––Funeral Song, 'Mary's
Grave'.––Clifford Castle.––Return by Hereford, Malvern Hills, Cheltenham, and Gloucester, to
'TIS sweet to hear the soothing chime,
And, by thanksgiving, measure time,
When hard-wrought poverty awhile
Upheaves the bending back to smile;
When servants hail, with boundless glee,
The sweets of love and liberty.
For guiltless love will ne'er disown
The cheerful Sunday's market town,
Clean, silent, when his power's confess'd,
And trade's contention lull'd to rest. 
Seldom has worship cheer'd my soul
With such invincible controul! 
It was a bright benignant hour,
The song of praise was full of power;
And, darting from the noon-day sky,
Amidst the tide of harmony,
O'er aisle and pillar glancing strong,
Heav'n's radiant light inspired the song.
The word of peace, that can disarm
Care with its own peculiar charm,
Here flow'd a double stream, to cheer
The Saxon 
and the Mountaineer,
Of various stock, of various name,
Now join'd in rights, and join'd in fame.
YE who religion's duty teach,
What constitutes a Sabbath breach?
Is it, when joy the bosom fills,
To wander o'er the breezy hills?
Is it, to trace around your home
The footsteps of imperial Rome?
Then guilty, guilty let us plead,
Who, on the cheerful rested steed,
In thought absorb'd, explor'd, 
The wild lanes round the silent GAER
Where conqu'ring eagles took their stand;
Where heathen altars stain'd the land;
Where soldiers of AUGUSTUS pin'd, 
Perhaps, for pleasures left behind,
And measur'd, 
from this lone abode,
The new-form'd, stoney, 
Their barks, their home, beyond the main; 
Still by the VANN
Of Alpine scenes, and mountain song,
The olive groves, the cloudless sky,
And golden vales of Italy.
With us 'twas peace, we met no foes;
With us far diff'rent feelings rose.
Still onward inclination bade; 
The wilds of MONA'S
His land of Britons stretch'd below,
The thund'ring ocean at his feet,
Were all before us. Hard it prov'd, 
To quit a land so dearly lov'd; 
Forego each bold terrific boast
Of northern Cambria's giant coast.
Friends of the harp and song, forgive
The deep regret that, whilst I live,
Shall dwell upon my heart and tongue;
Go, joys untasted! themes unsung, 
Another scene, another land,
Hence shall the homeward verse demand.
Yet fancy wove her flow'ry chain,
A pain that travellers may endure;
Change is their food, and change their cure.
Yet, oh, how dream-like, far away,
To recollect so bright a day!
Dream-like those scenes the townsmen love,
View'd while the moon cheer'd, calmly bright,
The freshness of a summer's night.
HIGH o'er the town, in morning smiles,
The blue VANN
his deep defiles;
And rang'd, like champions for the fight,
Basking in sun-beams on our right,
That far-fam'd 
spot of holy ground,
No road-side cottage smoke was seen,
Or rarely, on the village green 
No youths appear'd, in spring-tide dress,
In ardent play, or idleness.
Brown wav'd 
the harvest, dale and slope
Exulting bore a nation's hope;
Sheaves rose as far as sight could range,
And every mile was but a change
Of peasants lab'ring, lab'ring still,
And climbing many a distant hill.
Some talk'd, perhaps, of spring's bright hour,
The full-dried hay. Perhaps they told
Tradition's tales, and taught how old
The ruin'd castle? False or true,
They guess'd it, just 
as others do.
Lone tower! though suffer'd yet to stand,
Dilapidation's wasting hand
Shall tear thy pond'rous walls, to guard
The slumb'ring steed, or fence the yard;
Or wheels shall grind thy pride away
Along the turnpike road to HAY
Left war's attendants, blood and tears,
And spread their terrors many a mile,
And shouted round the flaming pile.
May heav'n 
preserve our native land
From blind ambition's murdering hand;
From all the wrongs that can provoke
A people's wrath, and urge the stroke
That shakes the proudest throne! Guard, heav'n, 
The sacred birth-right thou hast given;
Bid justice curb, with strong controul, 
The desp'rate passions of the soul.
Here ivy'd fragments, lowering, throw
Broad shadows on the poor below,
Who, while they rest, and when they die,
Sleep on the rock-built shores of WYE.
To tread o'er nameless mounds of earth,
To muse upon departed worth,
To credit still the poor distress'd,
For feelings never half express'd,
Their hopes, their faith, their tender love,
Faith that sustain'd, and hope that strove,
Is sacred joy; to heave a sigh,
A debt to poor mortality.
Funereal rites are clos'd; 
Ceased is the bell; the priest is gone;
What then if bust or stone denies
To catch the pensive loit'rer's eyes,
What course can poverty pursue?
What can the poor pretend to do?
O boast not, quarries, of your store;
Boast not, O man, of wealth or lore:
The flowers of nature here shall thrive,
Affection keep those flowers alive;
And they shall strike the melting heart,
Beyond the utmost power of art;
Planted on graves, 
their stems entwine,
And every blossom is a line
Indelibly impress'd, that tends,
In more than language comprehends,
To teach us, in our solemn hours,
That we ourselves are dying flowers.
What if a father buried here
His earthly hope, his friend most dear,
His only child? Shall his dim eye,
At poverty's command, be dry?
No, he shall muse, and think, and pray,
And weep his tedious hours away;
Or weave the song of woe to tell
How dear that child he loved so well.
No child have I left, I must wander alone,
No light-hearted Mary to sing as I go,
Nor loiter to gather bright flowers newly blown;
She delighted, sweet maid, in these emblems of woe.
Then the stream glided by her, or playfully boil'd
O'er its rock-bed unceasing, and still it flows free;
But her infant life was arrested, unsoil'd
As the dew-drop, when shook by the wing of the bee.
Sweet flowers were her treasures, and flowers shall be mine;
Thus planted in anguish, oh let them entwine
O'er a heart once as gentle as heav'n 
Oh, the glance of her eye, when at mansions of wealth
I pointed, suspicious, and warn'd her of harm;
She smiled in content, 'midst the bloom of her health,
And closer and closer still hung on my arm. 170
What boots it to tell of the sense she possess'd,
The fair buds of promise that mem'ry endears?
The mild dove, affection, was queen of her breast,
And I had her love, and her truth, and her tears;
She was mine. But she goes to the land of the good,
A change which I must, and yet dare, not deplore; 
I'll bear the rude shock like the oak of the wood,
But the green hills of Radnor
charm me no more.
RUINS of greatness, all farewell;
By mound, or foss, or mighty tower,
Achievements high in hall or bower;
Or give to fancy's vivid eye, 
The helms and plumes of chivalry.
Mere fragments wrestle still with time;
Yet as they perish, sure and slow,
And rolling dash the stream below,
They raise tradition's glowing scene,
The clue of silk, the wrathful queen,
And link, in mem'ry's firmest bond,
The love-lorn tale of Rosamond. 
How placid, how divinely sweet,
The flow'r-grown brook that, by our feet,
Winds a on summer's day; e'en where
Its name no classic honours share,
Its springs untrac'd, 
its course unknown,
Seaward for ever rambling down!
then, how sweet, pellucid, chaste;
'Twas this 
bright current bade us taste
The fulness of its joy. Glide still,
Meandering WYE! Still let me dream,
In raptures, o'er thy infant stream;
For could th' immortal soul forego
Its cumbrous load of earthly woe,
And clothe itself in fairy guise,
Too small, too pure, for human eyes,
Blithe would we seek thy utmost spring,
Where mountain-larks first try the wing; 210
There, at the crimson dawn of day,
Launch a scoop'd leaf, and sail away,
Stretch'd at our ease, or crouch below,
Or climb the green transparent prow,
Stooping where oft the blue-bell sips
The passing stream, and shakes and dips;
And when the heifer came to drink,
Quick from the gale our bark would shrink,
And huddle down amidst the brawl
Of many a five-inch waterfall,
Till the expanse should fairly give
The bow'ring hazel room to live;
And as each swelling junction came,
To form a riv'let worth a name,
We'd dart beneath, or brush away
Long-beaded webs, that else might stay
Our silent course; in haste retreat,
Where whirlpools near the bull-rush meet;
Wheel round the ox of monstrous size;
And count below his shadowy flies;
And sport amidst the throng; and when
We met the barks of giant men,
Avoid their oars, still undescried,
And mock their overbearing pride;
Then vanish by some magic spell,
And shout, 'Delicious WYE, farewell!'
'TWAS noon, when o'er thy mountain stream,
The carriage roll'd, each pow'rful gleam
Struck on thy surface, where, below,
Spread the deep heaven's azure glow;
And water-flowers, a mingling croud, 
in the dazzling silver cloud.
Again farewell! The treat is o'er; 
For me shall Cambria smile no more;
Yet truth shall still the song sustain,
And touch the springs of joy again.
Hail! land of cyder, 
vales of health!
Redundant fruitage, rural wealth;
Here, did Pomona 
still retain, 
Her influence o'er a British plain,
Might temples rise, spring blossoms fly
Round the capricious deity;
Or autumn sacrifices bound,
By myriads, o'er the hallow'd ground,
And deep libations still renew
The fervours of her dancing crew.
Land of delight! let mem'ry strive
To keep thy flying scenes alive;
Thy grey-limb'd orchards, scattering wide
Their treasures by the highway side;
Thy half-hid cottages, that show
The dark green moss, the resting bough,
At broken panes, that taps and flies,
Illumes and shades the maiden's eyes
At day-break, and, with whisper'd joy,
Wakes the light-hearted shepherd boy:
These, with thy noble woods and dells,
The hazel copse, the village bells,
Charm'd more the passing sultry hours
Sweet was the rest, with welcome cheer,
But a far nobler scene was near;
And when the morrow's noon had spread,
O'er orchard stores, the deep'ning red,
Behind us rose the billowy cloud, 275
That dims the air to city croud 
And deem not that, where cyder reigns
The beverage of a thousand plains,
Malt, and the liberal harvest horn,
Are all unknown, or laugh'd to scorn;
A spot that all delights might bring,
A palace for an eastern king,
her vaults display
John Barleycorn's resistless sway.
To make the odds of fortune even,
Up bounced the cork of 'seventy-seven,'
And sent me back to school; for then, 
Ere yet I learn'd to wield the pen;
pen that should all crimes assail,
The pen that leads to fame––or jail; 
Then steem'd 
the malt, whose spirit bears
The frosts and suns of thirty years!
, at decline of day,
The wheels that bore us roll'd away
Alternate met the weary sight
Each steep, dark, undulating brow,
And WORC'STER'S gloomy vale below.
Gloomy no more, when eastward sprung
The light that gladdens heart and tongue; 300
When morn glanced o'er the shepherd's bed,
And cast her tints of lovely red
Wide o'er the vast expanding scene,
And mix'd her hues with mountain green;
Then, gazing from a height so fair,
Through miles of unpolluted air,
Where cultivation triumphs wide,
O'er boundless views on every side,
Thick planted towns, where toils ne'er cease,
And far spread silent village peace;
As each succeeding pleasure came,
Oft glancing thence to Cambria still,
Thou yet wert seen, my fav'rite hill,
Wean me from thee, or turn aside
My earliest charm, my heart's strong pride.
The drooping patient, scarce alive; 320
Where, as he gathers strength to toil,
Not e'en thy heights his spirit foil,
But nerve him on to bless, t' inhale,
And triumph in the morning gale;
Or noon's transcendent glories give
The vigorous touch that bids him live.
Perhaps e'en now he stops to breathe,
Surveying the expanse beneath? 
Now climbs again, where keen winds blow,
And holds his beaver to his brow;
Waves to the Wrecken
his pale hand,
And, borrowing Fancy's magic wand,
Skims over WORC'STER'S spires away,
Where sprung the blush of rising day;
That taste reveres and virtue loves;
And stretch'd upon thy utmost ridge,
That leads to home, to friends, or wife,
And all thy sweets, domestic life; 
He drops 
the tear, his bosom glows,
That consecrated Avon flows
Down the blue distant vale, to yield
And feels whatever can inspire,
From history's page or poet's fire.
BRIGHT vale of Severn
! shall the song
That wildly devious roves along,
The charms of nature to explore,
On history rest, or themes of yore?
More joy the thoughts of home supply, 
Short be the glance at days gone by,
Hath much to tempt the traveller's stay, 
Her noble abbey, with its dead,
A powerful claim; 
a silent dread,
Sacred as holy virtue springs
Where rests the dust of chiefs and kings;
With his who by foul murder died,
The fierce Lancastrian's hope and pride,
When brothers brothers could destroy 
Heroic Margaret's red-rose boy. 
Muse, turn thee from the field of blood,
Rest to the brave, peace to the good; 
Avon, with all thy charms, adieu!
And like a girl in beauty's power,
Flirts in the fairings of an hour.
Queen of the valley! soon behind
Gleam'd thy bright fanes, in sun and wind,
Fair Glo'ster. Though thy fabric stands,
If grandeur, beauty, grace, can stay
The traveller on his homeward way.
There rests the Norman prince who rose
In zeal against the christian's 
Yet doom'd at home to pine and die,
Of birthright rob'd, 
Foil'd was the lance he well could fling,
who should have been a king; 
His tide of wrongs he could not stem,
His brothers filch'd his diadem. 
There sleeps the king who aim'd to spurn
But turn'd him back, with humbled fame,
Cease, cease the lay, the goal is won, 
Yet memory still shall revel on.
Fast closed the day, the last bright hour,
us home, and forward bade,
valley's peaceful shade.
WHO so unfeeling, who so bold,
To judge that fictions, idly told,
Deform my verse, that only tries
To consecrate realities?
If e'er th' unworthy thought should come,
Let strong conviction strike them dumb.
Go to the proof; your steed prepare,
Drink nature's cup, the rapture share;
If dull you find your devious course,
Your tour is useless––sell your horse.
Ye who, ingulf'd in trade, endure
What gold alone can never cure;
The constant sigh for scenes of peace,
From the world's trammels free release,
Wait not, for reason's sake attend, 
Wait not in chains till times shall mend, 
Till the clear voice, grown hoarse and gruff,
Cries, 'Now I'll go, I'm rich enough;' 
Youth, and the prime of manhood, seize, 
Steal ten days absence, ten days ease;
Bid ledgers from your minds depart;
Let mem'ry's treasures cheer the heart;
And when your children round you grow,
With opening charms and manly brow,
Talk of the WYE as some old dream,
Call it the wild, the wizard stream;
Sink in your broad arm-chair to rest,
And youth shall smile to see you bless'd.
Artists, betimes your powers employ,
And take the pilgrimage of joy;
The eye of genius may behold
A thousand beauties here untold;
Rock, that defies the winter's storm;
Wood, in its most imposing form,
That climbs the mountain, bows below,
Where deep th' unsullied waters flow.
Views by no tricks of fancy plan'd; 
here, upon the
stream reclin'd, 
with delight his ardent mind.
But let the vacant trifler stray
From thy enchantments far away;
For should, from fashion's rainbow train,
The idle and the vicious vain
In sacrilege presume to move
Through these dear scenes of peace and love,
The spirit of the stream would rise
In wrathful mood and tenfold size,
And bid his inmost caverns ring;
Loud thund'ring on the giddy crew,
'My stream was never meant for you.'
But ye, to nobler feelings born,
Who sense and nature dare not scorn,
Glide gaily on, and ye shall find
The blest serenity of mind
That springs from silence; or shall raise
The hand, the eye, the voice of praise.
Live then, sweet stream! and henceforth be
The darling of posterity;
Loved for thyself, for ever dear,
Like beauty's smile and virtue's tear,
Till Time his striding race give o'er,
And verse itself shall charm no more.
1. THE END.
 The text of the first edition of The Banks of Wye; A
Poem. In Four Books (London: Vernor, Hood & Sharpe, 1811), collated with the
corrected second edition (London, B. & R. Crosby & Co., 1813) and the third
edition (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Co., 1823). BACK
 For guiltless love will ne'er disown / The cheerful Sunday's
market town, / Clean, silent, when his power's confess'd, / And trade's contention lull'd to
rest.] omit 1813, 1823 BACK
service is performed alternately in English and Welsh. That they still call us Saxons, need
hardly be mentioned. I observed the army to be equally [The army, it appears, is quite 1813,
1823] as accommodating as the church, for the posting-bills, for recruits, are printed in
both languages [Bloomfield's note]. BACK
 A road must have led
from Abergavenny, through the Vale of the Usk, north-west to the 'Gaer,' situated two miles
north-west of Brecon, on a gentle eminence, at the conflux of the rivers Esker and Usk. Mr.
Wyndham traced parts of walls, which he describes as exactly resembling those at Caerleon;
and Mr. Lemon found several bricks, bearing the inscription of LEG. II. AVG. ––Coxe.
addition to the above, it may be acceptable to state, that Mr. Price, a very intelligent
farmer on the spot, has in his possession several of the above kind of bricks, bearing the
same inscription, done, evidently, by stamping the clay, while moist, with an instrument.
These have been turned up by the plough, together with several small Roman lamps
[Bloomfield's note: derived from William Coxe,
An Historical Tour in Monmouthshire: Illustrated with views by Sir R. C. Hoare, Bart.
A New Map of the County, and other Engravings (London, 1801)]. BACK
 The only remaining
tower of Brunless Castle now makes an excellent hay-loft; and almost every building on the
spot is composed of fragments [Bloomfield's note]. BACK
 To the custom of scattering flowers over the graves of departed friends, David ap Gwillym
beautifully alludes in one of his odes. 'O whilst thy season of flowers, and thy tender
sprays thick of leaves remain, I will pluck the roses from the brakes, the flowerets of the
meads, and gems of the wood; the vivid trefoil, beauties of the ground, and the gaily-smiling
bloom of the verdant herbs, to be offered to the memory of a chief of fairest fame. Humbly
will I lay them on the grave of Ivor.'
On a grave in the churchyard at Hay, or The Hay, as
it is commonly spoken, flowers had evidently been planted, but only one solitary sprig of
sweet-briar had taken root. [Bloomfield's note, referring to the last eight lines of 'I Yru
yr Haf i Anerch Morganwg' ['To Send the Summer to Greet Glamorgan'], published as the work
of Dafydd ap Gwilym in Barddoniaeth Dafydd ab Gwilym, ed. Owain Myfyr and
William Owen Pughe (London, 1789), 'Chwanegiad' [Appendix], no. XIV, but actually a literary
forgery by Iolo Morganwg [Edward Williams]; Bloomfield's source for the quotation was
probably William Coxe, An Historical Tour
in Monmouthshire: Illustrated with views by Sir R. C. Hoare, Bart. A New Map of the County,
and other Engravings (London, 1801), although the lines are applied to a grave at
Britton Ferry in J. T. Barber, A Tour throughout South Wales and Monmouthshire
(London, 1803), p. 151.]
 An allusion to the invocation of Herefordshire cider in John Phillips's Georgic poem
Cyder: A Poem in Two Books (London, 1708), pp. 32-33, of which this passage is
a tributary imitation. BACK
 The noble
seat of –––] Richard Cope 1823 Hopton, Esq. which exhibits, in a striking manner, the real
old English magnificence and hospitality of the last age [Bloomfield's note, referring to
Richard Cope Hopton of Canon Frome, Sheriff of Herefordshire (1738-1810)]. BACK
steem'd] Then steam'd 1823 BACK
 eyes, with joy,] eyes with joy 1813, 1823 BACK
 He drops]
While starts 1813, 1823 BACK
 When brothers brothers could destroy] (When brothers brothers could destroy)
1813, 1823 BACK
 Prince Edward, son of Henry the Sixth, taken prisoner with his mother,
Margaret of Anjou, at the Battle of Tewksbury, and murdered by the Duke of Gloucester,
afterwards Richard the Third [Bloomfield's note]. BACK
 The eldest
son of William the Conqueror was imprisoned eight-and-twenty years by his own brother!
[Bloomfield's note]. BACK
 Foul'd was the lance he well could fling, / Robert, who should
have been a king;] omit 1813, 1823 BACK
 diadem.] diadem*. *The eldest son of William the Conqueror was imprisoned
eight-and-twenty years by his own brother! 1823 BACK
 'Shrieks of an
agonizing king.' [Bloomfield's note: a reference to Thomas Gray's description of the murder
of Edward II in Berkeley Castle, in 'The Bard: A Pindaric Ode', (1757), line 56.] BACK
 the lay, the goal is won,] the lay––the goal is won–– 1813,
 Wait not, for reason's sake attend,] Wait not, (for reason's sake attend,)
1813, 1823 BACK