Friday, April 3, 2009

Today's poem - Home-Thoughts, from Abroad by Robert Browning

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
In England -now!

And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed peartree 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!


  1. Doesn't that conjure up the most beautiful, pastoral scene in your mind? Beautiful! (Love your sheep!)

  2. I love April and Browning's poem. It's a perfect day here today, the leaves on the trees and hedges are just unfurling, the primroses, daffodils and tulips are all out, the sky is blue and the birds are singing. But rain is forecast for tomorrow - well it is April - sunshine and showers.

  3. I wonder ... I have enjoyed reading this, but if he hadn't a reputation as a good poet and someone, instead, wrote this today would it be considered twee? But I do love the month of April, especially now that the hedges are beginning to green up in our part of Devon (UK). My favourite month of all is May, when the hawthorne is in bloom, and after that, my next favourite month is September (my birthday month), late enough for still warm days and not really autumn, but summer over and dahlias in bloom in the garden. But every season in England is special. Make a note of that, Mr Browning!

  4. I love Browning, and your little fuzzy sheepykins is so cute!

    A perfect poem for early spring, yep, yep, yep!

  5. It sure does, Nancy. And it is much the way I feel looking at the gardens featured on British blogs recently.

    Lucky you are, Margaret!

    Margaret, I think the majority of people now just don't have the same feeling for nature as they did in 1845. The photos you sent, and others I've seen give me such a feeling of longing. Also, we got married in London in April 32 years ago!

    Thanks Chartroose, I was so pleased with the sheepy photo-op. It's hit or miss with animals!!

  6. Ooh, fancy you getting married in London, Nan! But we beat you to it ... we married almost 45 years ago (in 1964 for those who find maths a trial!) But I love the romantic country writings of more than half a century (and more) ago. I have two little books by someone called W P Hodgkinson. I know nothing about this person but his two books The Kingdom is a Garden and The Eloquent Silence typify the rather romantic, idealised country writings of the time. The second one begins thus:
    "When I was young in years and experience, I had many fine dreams. In those days no heights were too high for me to scale, and no gate so narrow but I had already squeezed through it - in my mind!"
    These books, hardback but today's paperback size, have the most delightful wood cut illustrations, real little gems of a bygone era.
    A trilogy of little country books which I am sure, on your hill farm, you would appreciate are John Seymour's The Shepherd, The Woodlander,and the Smallholder. The Smallholder begins:
    "Happy is a country of smallholders, where, in the words of a Danish national song, 'everybody has enough and nobody has too much!'"
    Again, small format hardbacks with lovely illustrations (published in 1983) A real treat for those who love the countryside but perhaps don't have smallholdings or their own, for them to enjoy the land vicariously.
    Margaret Powling

  7. I agree, Pamela!

    Margaret, I thank you for all the titles. I've copied your comment and put it in my book ideas folder. They all look wonderful to me.

  8. This poem makes me long to be in England again. I went last May and it was bitter cold when we were there. I would love to go when the weather is warmer, so I could enjoy the outdoors of England more. This poem reveals a longing for home, and to be back in England where there is familiarity. The speaker seems to be homesick, and finds great joy in his home of England. I mean, how could you not miss "blossomed pear trees" that "lean to fields scattered with clover?" This poem is beautiful!


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