I HEARD a boy that climbed up Dover's Hill
Singing Sweet England, sweeter for his song.
The notes crept muffled through the copse, but still
Sharply recalled the things forgotten long,
The music that my own boy's lips had known,
Singing, and old airs on a wild flute blown.
And other hills, more grim and lonely far,
And valleys empty of these orchard trees;
A sheep-pond filled with the moon, a single star
I had watched by night searching the wreckful seas;
And all the streets and streets that childhood knew
In years when London streets were all my view.
And I remembered how that song I heard,
Sweet England, sung by children on May-day,
Nor any song was sweeter of a bird
Than that half-grievous air from children gay—
For then, as now, youth made the sadness bright,
Till the words, Sweet, Sweet England, shone with light.
Now, listening, I forgot how men yet fought
For this same England, till the song was done
And no sound lingered but the lark's, that brought
New music down from fields of cloud and sun,
Or the sad lapwing's over fields of green
Crying beneath the copse, near but unseen.