Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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POEMS

COMPOSED OR SUGGESTED DURING A TOUR IN THE SUMMER OF 1833

                                  III

          THEY called Thee MERRY ENGLAND, in old time;
          A happy people won for thee that name
          With envy heard in many a distant clime;
          And, spite of change, for me thou keep'st the same
          Endearing title, a responsive chime
          To the heart's fond belief; though some there are
          Whose sterner judgments deem that word a snare
          For inattentive Fancy, like the lime
          Which foolish birds are caught with. Can, I ask,
          This face of rural beauty be a mask                         10
          For discontent, and poverty, and crime;
          These spreading towns a cloak for lawless will?
          Forbid it, Heaven!--and MERRY ENGLAND still
          Shall be thy rightful name, in prose and rhyme!


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