Yesterday I went looking for a copy of Robert Browning’s The Ring and the Book. I’m reading it on an e-reader which is ok but sometimes in the matter of poetry beauty requires a beautiful vehicle. I didn’t find it but I came home with a fine Bells and Pomegranates: Second Series 10 Euro as well as The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand, 3 Euro and The Letters of Elia for .50 c.
‘Home Thoughts’ you all read at school while you watched the columns of chalk dust motes rise in a tourbillon of furious apathy. Here it is again evoking a nostalgia for a country perhaps not your own but your very own.
Home-Thoughts, from Abroad
By Robert Browning
Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray's edge—
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
—Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!