A London Idyll

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A London Idyll
by Arthur Hugh Clough

On grass, on gravel, in the sun,
Or now beneath the shade,
They went, in pleasant Kensington,
A prentice and a maid.

That Sunday morning’s April glow,
How should it not impart
A stir about the veins that flow
To feed the youthful heart.

Ah! years may come, and years may bring
The truth that is not bliss,
But will they bring another thing
That can compare with this?

I read it in that arm she lays
So soft on his; her mien,
Her step, her very gown betrays
(What in her eyes were seen)
That not in vain the young buds round,
The cawing birds above,
The air, the incense of the ground,
Are whispering, breathing love.

Ah I years may come, &c.

To inclination, young and blind,
So perfect, as they lent,
By purest innocence confined
Unconscious free consent.
Persuasive power of vernal change,
On this, thine earliest day,
Canst thou have found in all thy range
One fitter type than they?

Ah! years may come, &c.

Th’ high-titled cares of adult strife,
Which we our duties call,
Trades, arts, and politics of life,
Say, have they after all,
One other object, end or use
Than that, for girl and boy,
The punctual earth may still produce
This golden flower of joy.

Ah! years may come, &c.

O odours of new-budding rose,
O lily’s chaste perfume,
O fragrance that didst first unclose
The young Creation’s bloom!
Ye hang around me, while in sun
Anon and now in shade,
I watched in pleasant Kensington
The prentice and the maid.

Ah! years may come, and years may bring
The truth that is not bliss,
But will they bring another thing
That will compare with this?

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.