Spring Song In The City

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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!

© William Cosmo Monkhouse