Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AN URBAN ECLOGUE, by PATRICK REGINALD CHALMERS



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AN URBAN ECLOGUE, by            
First Line: How favoured are we, phyllis
Last Line: A million years ago!
Subject(s): Cities; Urban Life


STREPHON:

HOW favoured are we, Phyllis,
That ours is not the age
When rustic Amaryllis
Enjoyed a rustic rage;
Her freckles and her frolics,
Her stupid swains we know—
I've read their old bucolics
(I had to years ago!).

PHYLLIS:

I haven't (thanks to heaven,
And Fraülein's easy yoke);
But still I fancy, Strephon,
I know your tiresome folk:
Their compliments—becowslipped,
Their idylls—of the sheep,
Their wreaths—that o'er the brows slipped
In unbecoming sleep!

STREPHON:

I picture you reclining
With cricked and aching spine,
To catch the pan-pipes whining
Beneath some draughty pine;
You, Phyllis, with your brooches
And Paris frocks to-day
Supreme among the coaches,
Resplendent at the play!

PHYLLIS:

I simply can't imagine
You on the classic lawns,
With no Enclosure badge on,
Amid the festive fauns:
Or lounging, say, astride of
A log on summer nights,
You, Strephon, you the pride of
The window-seat at White's!

STREPHON:

They knew not bands and cities,
Nor streets in bunting bound;
Their bunting chirped his ditties
When Pan came barging round;
For in their futile, far land,
The only crownings were
When someone dumped a garland
On someone else's hair!

PHYLLIS:

Yet sometimes, when the dawning
Comes o'er the chimneys tall,
I find I'm almost yawning
Half through some ripping ball;
It's odd, but all one knows is
Just then that such things please
As hedges and wild-roses
And buttercups and bees!

STREPHON:

Why not then? I'll have fancies;
I, too, would botanize
And pick—I think they're pansies—
The blue things like your eyes:
Or down the Henley reaches
The crank canoe impel,
To lunch 'neath Shiplake beeches—
If you were there as well!

PHYLLIS:

This much then for conclusion,
I'd say small difference is
'Twixt tommy-rot effusion
And old absurdities—
The sort your shepherd-sillies
Fired off in fatuous flow
For rustic Amaryllis,
A million years ago!





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