An Ode To Spring In The Metropolis



(AFTER R. LE G.)
  
Is this the Seine?
And am I altogether wrong
About the brain,
Dreaming I hear the British tongue?
Dear Heaven! what a rhyme!
And yet 'tis all as good
As some that I have fashioned in my time,
Like bud and wood;
And on the other hand you couldn't have a more precise or neater
Metre.
  
Is this, I ask, the Seine?
And yonder sylvan lane,
Is it the Bois?
Ma foi!
Comme elle est chic, my Paris, my grisette!
Yet may I not forget
That London still remains the missus
Of this Narcissus.
  
No, no! 'tis not the Seine!
It is the artificial mere
That permeates St. James's Park.
The air is bosom-shaped and clear;
And, Himmel! do I hear the lark,
The good old Shelley-Wordsworth lark?
Even now, I prithee,
Hark
Him hammer
On Heaven's harmonious stithy,
Dew-drunken, like my grammar!
  
And O the trees!
Beneath their shade the hairless coot
Waddles at ease,
Hushing the magic of his gurgling beak;
Or haply in Tree-worship leans his cheek
Against their blind
And hoary rind,
Observing how the sap
Comes humming upwards from the tap-
Root!
Thrice happy, hairless coot!
  
And O the sun!
See, see, he shakes
His big red hands at me in wanton fun!
A glorious image that! it might be Blake's;
As in my critical capacity I took occasion to remark elsewhere,
When heaping praise
On this exceptionally happy phrase,
Although I made it up myself.
But I and Blake, we really constitute a pair,
Each being rather like an artless woodland elf.
  
And O the stars! I cannot say
I see a star just now,
Not at this time of day;
But anyhow
The stars are all my brothers;
(This verse is shorter than the others).
  
O Constitution Hill!
(This verse is shorter still).
  
Ah! London, London in the Spring!
You are, you know you are,
So full of curious sights,
Especially by nights.
From gilded bar to gilded bar
Youth goes his giddy whirl,
His heart fulfilled of Music-Hall,
His arm fulfilled of girl!
I frankly call
That last effect a perfect pearl!
  
I know it's
Not given to many poets
To frame so fair a thing
As this of mine, of Spring.
Indeed, the world grows Lilliput
All but
A precious few, the heirs of utter godlihead,
Who wear the yellow flower of blameless bodlihead!
  
And they, with Laureates dead, look down
On smaller fry unworthy of the crown,
Mere mushroom men, puff-balls that advertise
And bravely think to brush the skies.
Great is advertisement with little men!
Moi, qui vous parle, L- G-ll, nn-,
Have told them so;
I ought to know!
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

Modified on May 03, 2023

2:18 min read
2

Quick analysis:

Scheme A AXBXCDCDEE ABXFDXXX AGHGHHIHEIE JKJLLMMNNKK OPOPQRRFQF STSTUU VV WXYYXZ1 Z1 Z XXWWDXDD 2 2 3 3 XB4 4
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 2,368
Words 456
Stanzas 11
Stanza Lengths 1, 10, 8, 11, 11, 10, 6, 2, 10, 8, 8

Owen Seaman

Sir Owen Seaman, 1st Baronet was a British writer, journalist and poet. He is best known as editor of Punch, from 1906 to 1932. more…

All Owen Seaman poems | Owen Seaman Books

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