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

Cosmo Monkhouse b. 1840

Spring Song in the City

WHO remains in London,

In the streets with me,

Now that Spring is blowing

Warm winds from the sea;

Now that trees grow green and tall,

Now the sun shines mellow,

And with moist primroses all

English lanes are yellow?

Little barefoot maiden,

Selling violets blue,

Hast thou ever pictur’d

Where the sweetlings grew?

Oh, the warm wild woodland ways,

Deep in dewy grasses,

Where the windblown shadow strays,

Scented as it passes!

Pedlar breathing deeply,

Toiling into town,

With the dusty highway

You are dusky brown;

Hast thou seen by daisied leas,

And by rivers flowing,

Lilac-ringlets which the breeze

Loosens lightly blowing?

Out of yonder wagon

Pleasant hay-scents float,

He who drives it carries

A daisy in his coat:

Oh, the English meadows, fair

Far beyond all praises!

Freckled orchids everywhere

Mid the snow of daisies!

Now in busy silence

Broods the nightingale,

Choosing his love’s dwelling

In a dimpled dale;

Round the leafy bower they raise

Rose-trees wild are springing;

Underneath, thro’ the green haze,

Bounds the brooklet singing.

And his love is silent

As a bird can be,

For the red buds only

Fill the red rose-tree;

Just as buds and blossoms blow

He ’ll begin his tune,

When all is green and roses glow

Underneath the moon.

Nowhere in the valleys

Will the wind be still,

Everything is waving,

Wagging at his will:

Blows the milkmaid’s kirtle clean,

With her hand press’d on it;

Lightly o’er the hedge so green

Blows the ploughboy’s bonnet.

Oh, to be a roaming

In an English dell!

Every nook is wealthy,

All the world looks well,

Tinted soft the Heavens glow,

Over Earth and Ocean,

Waters flow, breezes blow,

All is light and motion!