O BROTHERS, who must ache and stoop
O’er wordy tasks in London town,
How scantly Laura trips for you—
A poem in a gown!
How rare if Grub-street grew a lawn!
How sweet if Nature’s lap could spare
A dandelion for the Strand,
A cowslip for Mayfair!

But here, from immaterial lyres,
There rings in easy confidence
The blackbird’s bright philosophy
On apple-spray or fence:
For ploughmen wending home from toil
Some patriot thrush outpours his lay,
And voices, wildly eloquent,
The diary of his day.

These living lyrics you may hear
Remembering the lane’s romance,
All hung in wicker heels to chirp
Thin ghosts of utterance:
But where the gusts of liberty
Make Ragged Robin wisely bend,
They quicken hedgerows with their song,
Melodiously unpenned.

If souls of mighty singers leave
The vacant body to its hush,
Does Shelley linger in the lark,
Or Keats possess the thrush?
The end is undecaying doubt,
And in some blackbird’s bosom still
Great Tennyson may sweeten eve
And whistle on the hill.

Come, brothers, to this clean delight,
And watch the velvet-headed tit.
Here ’s honest sorrel in the grass
And sturdy cuckoo-spit:
What shepherds hear you shall not miss,
And at deliverance of dawn
Shall see a miracle of bloom
Across the sparkling lawn.

The forest musically begs
To fan you with its leafy love;
Oh, fall asleep upon this moss
Entreated by the dove!
Here shall that sweet Conservative,5
Dear Mother Nature, lend to you
Her lovely rural elements
Beneath the primal blue.

O brothers, who must ache and stoop
O’er wordy tasks in London town,
How scantly Laura trips for you—
A poem in a gown!
How good if Fleet-street grew a lawn!
How sweet if garden-plots could spare
A bed of cloves to scent the Strand,
A pansy for Mayfair!

More verses by Norman Rowland Gale

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