Meditations On A Holiday (A New Theme To An Old Folk-Jingle)

A poem by Thomas Hardy

'Tis May morning,
All-adorning,
No cloud warning
Of rain to-day.
Where shall I go to,
Go to, go to? -
Can I say No to
Lyonnesse-way?

Well what reason
Now at this season
Is there for treason
To other shrines?
Tristram is not there,
Isolt forgot there,
New eras blot there
Sought-for signs!

Stratford-on-Avon -
Poesy-paven -
I'll find a haven
There, somehow! -
Nay I'm but caught of
Dreams long thought of,
The Swan knows nought of
His Avon now!

What shall it be, then,
I go to see, then,
Under the plea, then,
Of votary?
I'll go to Lakeland,
Lakeland, Lakeland,
Certainly Lakeland
Let it be.

But why to that place,
That place, that place,
Such a hard come-at place
Need I fare?
When its bard cheers no more,
Loves no more, fears no more,
Sees no more, hears no more
Anything there!

Ah, there is Scotland,
Burns's Scotland,
And Waverley's. To what land
Better can I hie? -
Yet if no whit now
Feel those of it now -
Care not a bit now
For it why I?

I'll seek a town street,
Aye, a brick-brown street,
Quite a tumbledown street,
Drawing no eyes.
For a Mary dwelt there,
And a Percy felt there
Heart of him melt there,
A Claire likewise.

Why incline to THAT city,
Such a city, THAT city,
Now a mud-bespat city! -
Care the lovers who
Now live and walk there,
Sit there and talk there,
Buy there, or hawk there,
Or wed, or woo?

Laughters in a volley
Greet so fond a folly
As nursing melancholy
In this and that spot,
Which, with most endeavour,
Those can visit never,
But for ever and ever
Will now know not!

If, on lawns Elysian,
With a broadened vision
And a faint derision
Conscious be they,
How they might reprove me
That these fancies move me,
Think they ill behoove me,
Smile, and say:

"What! our hoar old houses,
Where the past dead-drowses,
Nor a child nor spouse is
Of our name at all?
Such abodes to care for,
Inquire about and bear for,
And suffer wear and tear for -
How weak of you and small!"

May 1921.

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