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"


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

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

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

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


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


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


Twenty bridges from Tower to Kew
(Twenty bridges or twenty-two)
Wanted to know what the River knew,
For they were young, and the Thames was old
And this is the tale that River told ...

RUDYARD KIPLING, "The River's Tale", Writings in Prose and Verse


Tags: Rudyard Kipling

The Thames was beautiful, dark, and swift beneath the billion yellow and white lights of the city ...

CHARLES FINCH, The Last Enchantments


From his oozy bed
Old father Thames advanced his reverend head;
His tresses dropp'd with dews, and o'er the stream
His shining horns diffused a golden gleam:
Graved on his urn appear'd the moon, that guides
His swelling waters, and alternate tides;
The figured streams in waves of silver roll'd,
And on their banks Augusta rose in gold.

ALEXANDER POPE, "Windsor Forest"


Tags: Alexander Pope

Fair Thames she haunts, and every neighb'ring grove,
Sacred to soft recess and gentle love.

MATTHEW PRIOR, "Cloe Hunting", The Poetical Works of Matthew Prior


The moonlight rests, with solemn smile,
On sylvan shore and willowy isle:
While Thames, beneath the imaged beam,
Rolls on his deep and silent stream.
The wasting wind of autumn sighs:
The oak's discolored foliage flies:
The grove, in deeper shadow cast,
Waves darkly in the eddying blast.

THOMAS LOVE PEACOCK, "Genius of the Thames"


Fifteen feet away, the wide River Thames rolled past, dark and deep and mysterious in the sullen not-quite-sunrise. I closed my eyes and listened to the murky waves, lapping and gurgling against the brick palace walls. This close, the river's music ought to have overwhelmed me. Strain as I might, however, I couldn't hear more than a few muted, dissonant notes. "It's no use," I said at last--and then a faint melody, high and tremulous, emerged from the discord. I went still. The song did not peter out, but instead swelled louder, spilling itself out before me: Wild Magic, a true song-spell. And not only that, but a song-spell I could understand, one for calling up mist. It reminded me of the song-spell I'd sung when the King's men had come, though of course there were differences. This was the Thames, after all.



But her own king she likens to his Thames;
Serene yet strong, majestic yet sedate,
Swift without violence, without terror great.

MATTHEW PRIOR, "Carmen Seculare"