A Spring Poem from Robert Browning

Home Thoughts from Abroad

Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England – now!

And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops – at the bent spray’s edge –
That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
– Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!


From Canto LXXX

Oh to be in England now that Winston’s out

Now that there’s room for doubt

And the bank may be the nation’s

And the long years of patience

And labour’s vacillations

May have let the bacon come home,

To watch how they’ll slip and slide

watch how they’ll try to hide

the real portent

To watch a while from the tower

where dead flies lie thick over the old charter

forgotten, oh quite forgotten

but confirming John’s first one,

and still there if you climb over attic rafters;

to look at the fields; are they tilled?

is the old terrace alive as it might be

with a whole colony

if money be free again?

Chesterton’s England of has-been and why-not,

or is it all rust, ruin, death duties and mortgages

and the great carriage yard empty

and more pictures gone to pay taxes


The Fleming Foundation

2 Responses

  1. Vince Cornell says:

    Please pardon my foolishness, but is there an Ezra Pound parody here that I’m missing? Or is that in another post?

  2. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Thanks for noticing this. I had posted Pound, then deleted it in order to post a better text and promptly forgot.