Collegia – Ode 86: Home Thoughts from the City


THE church bells have been pealing and are hushed;
Their call to worship fell like fragrant dew
Upon rich meadow pastures, breathing low
A vesper to the first star in sky flushed
With lovely rose above the sunset glow,
Alone and beautiful in heaven’s blue.

My eyes are closed to the material scene
And notice not the drabness all around;
They do not see the smoke and horrid glare
But lead me gently into fields of green,
Where scents of many flowers fill the air,
And short green grasses clothe my native ground.

My ears are deaf to all the growling hum
Of packed humanity; they only catch
The bleating of the sheep on mountain side;
Receive no message from the squalid slum,
But hear the shingle roar, the soughing tide,
A mother softly singing ‘neath the thatch.

My body, gross and heavy clay that cannot move
Away from sordid neighbourhoods, remains
Amid this welter, racked by city noise;
My spirit, airy, free, doth outward rove
With eagle’s flight to see an exile’s joys,
And wander over my beloved plains.

1. 6. 30