Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Rus In Urbe

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Clement William Scott b. 1841

Rus In Urbe

POETS are singing the whole world over

Of May in melody, joys for June;

Dusting their feet in the careless clover,

And filling their hearts with the black-bird’s tune.

The “brown bright nightingale” strikes with pity

The sensitive heart of a count or clown;

But where is the song for our leafy city,

And where the rhymes for our lovely town?

“O for the Thames, and its rippling reaches,

Where almond rushes, and breezes sport!

Take me a walk under Burnham Beeches;

Give me a dinner at Hampton Court!”

Poets, be still, though your hearts I harden;

We ’ve flowers by day and have scents at dark,

The limes are in leaf in the cockney garden,

And lilacs blossom in Regent’s Park.

“Come for a blow,” says a reckless fellow,

Burn’d red and brown by passionate sun;

“Come to the downs, where the gorse is yellow;

The season of kisses has just begun!

Come to the fields where bluebells shiver,

Hear cuckoo’s carol, or plaint of dove;

Come for a row on the silent river;

Come to the meadows and learn to love!”

Yes, I will come when this wealth is over

Of soften’d color and perfect tone—

The lilac ’s better than fields of clover;

I ’ll come when blossoming May has flown.

When dust and dirt of a trampled city

Have dragg’d the yellow laburnum down,

I ’ll take my holiday—more’s the pity—

And turn my back upon London town.

Margaret! am I so wrong to love it,

This misty town that your face shines through?

A crown of blossom is wav’d above it;

But heart and life of the whirl—’t is you!

Margaret! pearl! I have sought and found you;

And, though the paths of the wind are free,

I ’ll follow the ways of the world around you,

And build my nest on the nearest tree!