Sunday, November 09, 2008


When the World Is All Awry

John Meade Falkner, Theocritus in Fleet Street:
What matter though my room be small,
  Though the red lamp-light looks
On nothing but a papered wall,
  And some few rows of books.

For in my hand I hold a key
  That opens golden doors,
At whose resistless sesame,
  A tide of sunlight pours;

In from the basking lawns that lie
  Beyond the boundary wall;
Where summer broods eternally,
  Where the cicadas call.

There all the landscape softer is,
  There greener tendrils twine,
The bowers are roofed with clematis,
  With briony and vine.

There pears and golden apples hang,
  There falls the honey-dew,
And there the birds at morning sang,
  When all the world was new.

Beneath an oak Menalcas woos
  Arachnia's nut-brown eyes;
And still the laughing Faun pursues,
  And still the Dryad flies.

And you may hear young Orpheus there
  Come singing through the wood,
Or catch the gleam of golden hair
  In Dian's solitude.

So when the world is all awry,
  When life is out of chime,
I take the golden key and fly
  To that serener clime:

To those fair sun-lit lawns that lie
  Beyond the boundary wall:
Where summer broods eternally,
  And Youth is over all.

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