London Town

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This is from the Heinemann Collected Poems of John Masefield, 1931 re-print, first published October 1923. I have seen an earlier version that differs slightly in verse 5, line 3 (being - But craftily fares the knave there, and wickedly fares the Jew,)


Oh London Town's a fine town, and London sights are rare,

And London ale is right ale, and brisk's the London air,

And busily goes the world there, but crafty grows the mind,

And London Town of all towns I'm glad to leave behind.


Then hey for croft and hop-yard, and hill, and field, and pond,

With Bredon Hill before me and Malvern Hill beyond.

The hawthorn white i' the hedgerow, and all the spring's attire

In the comely land of Teme and Lugg, and Clent, and Clee, and Wyre.


Oh London girls are brave girls, in silk and cloth o' gold,

And London shops are rare shops, where gallant things are sold,

And bonnily clinks the gold there, but drowsily blinks the eye,

And London Town of all towns I'm glad to hurry by.


Then, hey for covert and woodland, and ash and elm and oak,

Tewkesbury inns, and Malvern roofs, and Worcester chimney smoke,

The apple trees in the orchard, the cattle in the byte,

And all the land from Ludlow town to Bredon church's spire.


Oh London tunes are new tunes, and London books are wise,

And London plays are rare plays, and fine to country eyes,

Wretchedly fare the most there, and happily fare the few,

And London Town of all towns I'm glad to hurry through.


So hey for the road, the west road, by mill and forge and fold,

Scent of the fern and song of the lark by brook, and field, and wold,

To the comely folk at the hearth-stone and the talk beside the fire,

In the hearty land, where I was bred, my land of heart’s desire.