Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE RIVER STOUR, by WILLIAM BARNES



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THE RIVER STOUR, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Stour, of all our streams the dearest
Last Line: Be thy by-dwellers, gliding stour.
Subject(s): Children; Rivers; Stour (River), England; Childhood


Stour, of all our streams the dearest
Unto me, for thou was nearest
To my boyhood in my play,
Blest may be the sons and daughters
That beside thy wand'ring waters
Have their hearth, and spend their day.
By happy homes of high and low
Flow on dark river, ever flow.

Thou through meady Blackmore wendest,
And around its hillslopes bendest,
Under cliffs, and down the dells;
On by uplands under tillage,
On beside the tower'd village,
With its sweetly-chiming bells.
There go, dear stream, and ever flow
By souls, in joy, without a woe.

Wind around the woody ridges;
Shoot below thy archy bridges,
Swelling by thy many brooks;
Gliding slowly in thy deepness;
Rolling fleetly at thy steepness;
Whirling round the shady nooks;
And pass the lands that fall and rise
Below the sight of tearless eyes,

Where the willow's head begloometh
Depths below the clote, that bloometh
Near the rushes' brown-clubb'd wand,
While to mill by mill thou roamest,
And below the mill-weir foamest
In the wildly-heaving pond.
And when, at night, the wheel may cease
To roll, may inmates sleep in peace.

Where a hoof or foot onspeedeth
By a well-stein'd road, that leadeth
O'er thy face to either side,
To the town, that's many-streeted,
Where, by loving friends, are greeted
Friend and child, and maid and bride,
May their welfare ne'er give out
Until thy stream is dried by drought.

Glowing under day's warm sunning,
Sparkling with thy ripples' running,
Taking to thee brooks and rills,
Valley-draining, dell-bewending,
Water-taking, water-sending,
Down to dairy farms and mills,
O blest below each village tow'r
Be thy by-dwellers, gliding Stour.





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