Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > England
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV.  1876–79.
 
London Streets
Rotten Row, Hyde Park
Frederick Locker-Lampson (1821–1895)
 
I HOPE I ’m fond of much that ’s good,
  As well as much that ’s gay;
I ’d like the country if I could,
  I like the Park in May:
And when I ride in Rotten Row,        5
I wonder why they called it so.
 
A lively scene on turf and road,
  The crowd is smartly drest:
The Ladies’ Mile has overflowed,
  The chairs are in request:        10
The nimble air, so soft and clear,
Can hardly stir a ringlet here.
 
I ’ll halt beneath these pleasant trees
  And drop my bridle-rein,
And, quite alone, indulge at ease        15
  The philosophic vein:
I ’ll moralize on all I see,—
I think it all was made for me!
 
Forsooth, and on a nicer spot
  The sunbeam never shines;        20
Young ladies here can talk and trot
  With statesmen and divines:
Could I have chosen, I ’d have been
A Duke, a Beauty, or a Dean!
 
What grooms! what gallant gentlemen!        25
  What well-appointed hacks!
What glory in their pace,—and then
  What beauties on their backs!
My Pegasus would never flag
If weighted as my lady’s nag.        30
 
But where is now that courtly troop
  Who once rode laughing by?
I miss the curls of Cantilupe,
  The smile of Lady Di:
They all could laugh from night to morn,        35
And Time has laughed them all to scorn.
 
I then could frolic in the van
  With dukes and dandy earls;
I then was thought a nice young man
  By rather nice young girls;        40
I ’ve half a mind to join Miss Browne,
And try one canter up and down.
 
Ah, no! I ’ll linger here awhile,
  And dream of days of yore;
For me bright eyes have lost the smile,        45
  The sunny smile they wore:—
Perhaps they say, what I ’ll allow,
That I ’m not quite so handsome now.
 
 
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