UPON ECKINGTON BRIDGE, RIVER AVON
by: A.T. Quiller-Couch
heart of England! like a psalm
- Of green days telling with a quiet beat--
- O wave into the sunset flowing calm!
- O tirèd lark descending on the wheat!
- Lies it all peace beyond the western fold
- Where now the lingering shepherd sees his star
- Rise upon Malvern? Paints an Age of Gold
- Yon cloud with prophecies of linkèd ease--
- Lulling this Land, with hills drawn up like knees,
- To drowse beside her implements of war?
- Man shall outlast his battles. They have swept
- Avon from Naseby Field to Savern Ham;
- And Evesham's dedicated stones have stepp'd
- Down to the dust with Montfort's oriflamme.
- Nor the red tear nor the reflected tower
- Abides; but yet these elegant grooves remain,
- Worn in the sandstone parapet hour by hour
- By labouring bargemen where they shifted ropes;
- E'en so shall men turn back from violent hopes
- To Adam's cheer, and toil with spade again.
- Ay, and his mother Nature, to whose lap
- Like a repentant child at length he hies,
- Nor in the whirlwind or the thunder-clap
- Proclaims her more tremendous mysteries:
- But when in winter's grave, bereft of light,
- With still, small voice divinelier whispering
- --Lifting the green head of the aconite,
- Feeding with sap of hope the hazel-shoot--
- She feels God's finger active at the root,
- Turns in her sleep, and murmurs of the Spring.
'Upon Eckington Bridge, River Avon'
is reprinted from An Anthology of Modern Verse. Ed. A.
Methuen. London: Methuen & Co., 1921.