quotations about the Thames River

Thames River quote

O, clear are England's waters all, her rivers, streams, and rills,
Flowing stilly through her valleys lone and winding by her hills;
But river, stream, or rivulet through all her breadth who names
For beauty and for pleasantness with our own pleasant Thames?

WILLIAM COX BENNETT, "The Glories of Our Thames", Songs of a Song Writer


Thou who shalt stop where Thames' translucent wave
Shines a broad mirror through the shadowy cave,
Where lingering drops from mineral roofs distil,
And pointed crystals break the sparkling rill,
Unpolished gems no ray on pride bestow,
And latent metals innocently glow:
Approach. Great nature studiously behold!
And eye the mine without a wish for gold.
Approach: but awful! Lo the Egerian grot,
Where, nobly pensive, St. John sate and thought;
Where British sighs from dying Wyndham stole,
And the bright flame was shot through Marchmont's soul.
Let such, such only, tread the sacred floor,
Who dare to love their country and be poor.

ALEXANDER POPE, "On His Grotto at Twickenham"


The Thames shouldered its way past Blackfriars Bridge, impatient with the ancient piers, no longer the passive stream that slid past Chelsea Marina, but a rush of ugly water that had scented the open sea and was ready to make a run for it.

J. G. BALLARD, Millennium People


The Thames is liquid history.

JOHN BURNS, attributed, Front-Line Thames


The yellow leaves begin to fade
And flutter from the Temple elms,
And at my feet the pale green Thames
Lies like a rod of rippled jade.

OSCAR WILDE, "Symphony in Yellow"


Tags: Oscar Wilde

There is no river in the world to be compared for majesty and the witchery of association, to the Thames; it impresses even the unreading and unimaginative watcher with a solemnity which he cannot account for, as it rolls under his feet and swirls past the buttresses of its many bridges; he may think, as he experiences the unusual effect, that it is the multiplicity of buildings which line its banks, or the crowd of sea-craft which floats upon its surface, or its own extensive spread. In reality he feels, although he cannot explain it, the countless memories which hang for ever like a spiritual fog over its rushing current.

HUME NISBET, "The Phantom Model", Gaslit Nightmares


For centuries London's residents have sailed on the River Thames' waters, docked and traded on its shores and built their homes not far from the waters that connect the English capital with the country's pastoral countryside. But Thames locals have, on occasion, also been known to use the river as a veritable dumping ground for just about anything that needs disposing. It's for that reason the Thames has been dubbed the city's "longest archaeological site," and earned a reputation as a hot spot for amateur and professional archaeologists alike to find everything from weapons to jewelry to art to ... well, you can just imagine.

ALANNA MARTINEZ, "London's River Thames Has Been a Hot Spot for Lost Art for Centuries", The Observer, June 1, 2017


London's river Thames in the 18th century was not quite what it is like today. England flourished with thousands of habitats; the city's trash flowed directly to the river, which acted as a heartline for London. Marine life started to die due to pollution, sewage, Industrial waste and by 1957 Thames was declared "biologically dead" by the Natural History Museum.

THE ECONOMIC TIMES, "How Thames became one of the cleanest rivers", May 26, 2017


It's also interesting to think about what modern London has in common with its earliest settlers. The Thames River is one example, although the relationship Victorian Londoners shared with the city's heritage landmark was a lot different to say the least. As we continue to debate what our future relationship with the Thames will be like, photographs of a major 1883 flood remind us why it was necessary to tame the river in the first place.

CHRIS MONTANINI, "London's history in pictures", The Londoner, November 16, 2016


I think the Thames River is a really misunderstood river. Going through Chatham, and even London, it gets the reputation of being an inner-city river with not too much going on in regards to wildlife and even nature.

TREVOR THOMPSON, "River canoe to spotlight natural gem in Chatham-Kent", Chatham Daily News, July 13, 2015


We could be on the Thames once a week cleaning it up. I've been motivated by the fact I live in London and the Thames River is the defining feature of this town. I don't think a lot of people realize we have, right downtown in the heart of the city, anglers fishing for one of the 90 different breeds of fish that live in the river. It's a pretty important and sensitive environmental ecosystem.

TOM CULL, "Thames River clean up efforts growing", The Londoner, April 4, 2014


London waxed and waned and waxed, fed always by the silvery lifeline of the Thames.

DAVID PIPER, The Companion Guide to London


What better place than this then could we find
By this sweet stream that knows not of the sea,
This little stream whose hamlets scarce have names,
This far-off lonely mother of the Thames.

WILLIAM MORRIS, "The Months: June"


Tags: William Morris

Oh, could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
My great example, as it is my theme!
Though deep, yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull;
Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full.



Tags: John Denham

Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that. mighty heart is lying still!

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802


Tags: William Wordsworth

Thames, matron Thames,
That ebbest back
From the sea;
Oh! in thee
There are emblems
Of life's track:
We, too, would, like thee, regain,
If we might, our greener hours;
We, too, mourn our vanished flowers,
But in vain.

ALEXANDER HUME BUTLER, "Thames", Poems written in Barracks


The river Thames that by our door doth pass,
His first beginning is but small and shallow;
Yet, keeping on his course, grows to a sea.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, his authorship of this play has been rejected by modern scholars who sometimes attribute it to Wentworth Smith or William Sly, The Life and Death of Thomas, Lord Cromwell


Tags: William Shakespeare

Thames, maiden Thames,
Glancing, shining
While for you
The lilied stems
Are pining.
Ah! thou lovest best to play
Slily with the wanton swallow,
While he whispers thee to follow
Him away.

ALEXANDER HUME BUTLER, "Thames", Poems Written in Barracks


Along the shore of silver-streaming Thames,
Whose rushy bank the which his river hems.

EDMUND SPENSER, "Prothalamion", Hymns, Visions, Elegiac poems


Tags: Edmund Spenser

See, this regal Thames is winding
Among its poplared islands with a slow majestic pace;
We should see the towers of Windsor if the sun were not so blinding,
It casts a glow on all the trees, and a glory on your face.

BESSIE RAYNER BELLOC, "Up the River", Ballads and Songs