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Life and all its good I scorn,
Dance by night or feast by day.
My love is dead,
Gone to his death-bed,
All under the willow-tree.
When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;
When the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene,
When Mary and Susan and Emily
With their sweet round mouths sing "Ha, Ha, He!"
When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread,
Come live, and be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of “Ha, Ha, He!"
All day long the traffic goes
In Lady Street by dingy rows
Of sloven houses, tattered shops -
Fried fish, old clothes, and fortune-tellers —
Tall trams on silver-shining rails,
With grinding wheels and swaying tops,
And lorries with their corded bales,
And screeching cars. “Buy, buy!” the sellers
Of rags and bones and sickening meat
Cry all day long in Lady Street.
And when the sunshine has its way
In Lady Street, then all the gray
Dull desolation grows in state
More dull and gray and desolate,
And the sun is a shamefast thing,
A lord not comely-housed, a god,
Seeing what gods must blush to see,
A song where it is ill to sing,
And each gold ray despiteously
Lies like a gold ironic rod.
Yet one gray man in Lady Street
Looks for the sun. He never bent
Life to his will, his travelling feet
Have scaled no cloudy continent,
Nor has the sickle-hand been strong.
He lives in Lady Street; a bed,
Four cobwebbed walls.
But all day long
A time is singing in his head
Of youth in Gloucester lanes. He hears
The wind among the barley-blades,
The tapping of the woodpeckers
On the smooth beeches, thistle-spades
Slicing the sinewy roots; he sees
The hooded filberts in the copse
Beyond the loaded orchard trees,
The netted avenues of hops;
He smells the honeysuckle thrown
Along the hedge. He lives alone,
Alone yet not alone, for sweet
Are Gloucester lanes in Lady Street.
Ay, Gloucester lanes. For down below
The cobwebbed room this gray man plies
A trade, a coloured trade. A show
Of many-coloured merchandise
Is in his shop. Brown filberts there,
And apples red with Gloucester air,
And cauliflowers he keeps, and round
Smooth marrows grown on Gloucester ground,
Fat cabbages and yellow plums,
And gaudy brave chrysanthemums.
And times a glossy pheasant lies
Among his store, not Tyrian dyes
More rich than are the neck-feathers;
And times a prize of violets,
Or dewy mushrooms satin-skinned.
And times an unfamiliar wind
Robbed of its woodland favour stirs
Gay daffodils this gray man sets
Among his treasure.
All day long In Lady Street the traffic goes
By dingy houses, desolate rows
Of shops that stare like hopeless eyes.
Day long the sellers cry their cries,
The fortune-tellers tell no wrong
Of lives that know not any right,
And drift, that has not even the will
To drift, toils through the day until
The wage of sleep is won at night.
But this gray man heeds not at all
The hell of Lady Street. His stall
Of many-coloured merchandise
He makes a shining paradise,
As all day long chrysanthemums
He sells, and red and yellow plums
And cauliflowers. In that one spot
Of Lady Street the sun is not
| Ashamed to shine and send a rare
Shower of colour through the air;
The gray man says the sun is sweet
On Gloucester lanes in Lady Street.
DEAR IS MY LITTLE NATIVE VALE
Dear is my little native vale,
The ring-dove builds and murmurs there; Close by my cot she tells her tale
To every passing villager;
The squirrel leaps from tree to tree,
And shells his nuts at liberty.
In orange-groves and myrtle-bowers,
That breathe a gale of fragrance round,
I charm the fairy-footed hours
With my loved lute's romantic sound;
Or crowns of living laurel weave
For those that win the race at eve.
The shepherd's horn at break of day,
The ballet danced in twilight glade, The canzonet and roundelay
Sung in the silent greenwood shade: These simple joys, that never fail, Shall bind me to my native vale.
Sept. 3, 1802
Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty: This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning: silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky,
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill; Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!