The Homes of England

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The Homes of England
by Felicia Hemans
I wonder if the English people appreciate "The Homes of England." It is a stately poem worthy of a Goethe or a Shakespeare. England is distinctively a country of homes, pretty, little, humble homes as well as stately palaces and castles, homes well made of stone or brick for the most part, and clad with ivy and roses. Who would not be proud to have had such a home as Ann Hathaway's humble cottage or one of the little huts in the Lake District? The homes of America are often more palatial, especially in small cities, but the use of wood in America makes them less substantial than the slate-and-brick houses of England. (1749-1835.)

    The stately homes of England!
      How beautiful they stand,
    Amidst their tall ancestral trees,
      O'er all the pleasant land!
    The deer across their greensward bound
      Through shade and sunny gleam,
    And the swan glides past them with the sound
      Of some rejoicing stream.

    The merry homes of England!
      Around their hearths by night
    What gladsome looks of household love
      Meet in the ruddy light!
    There woman's voice flows forth in song,
      Or childish tale is told,
    Or lips move tunefully along
      Some glorious page of old.

    The blessèd homes of England!
      How softly on their bowers
    Is laid the holy quietness
      That breathes from Sabbath hours!
    Solemn, yet sweet, the church-bell's chime
      Floats through their woods at morn;
    All other sounds, in that still time,
      Of breeze and leaf are born.

    The cottage homes of England!
      By thousands on her plains,
    They are smiling o'er the silvery brooks,
      And round the hamlets' fanes.
    Through glowing orchards forth they peep,
      Each from its nook of leaves;
    And fearless there the lowly sleep,
      As the bird beneath their eaves.

    The free, fair homes of England!
      Long, long, in hut and hall
    May hearts of native proof be reared
      To guard each hallowed wall!
    And green forever be the groves,
      And bright the flowery sod,
    Where first the child's glad spirit loves
      Its country and its God!