Cicely Fox Smith
News From The North - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith
As I went down by London Bridge
(And I not long on land),
I met a lad from the North Country,
And gripped him by the hand,
And said, 'If you be late from home,
Oh, quickly tell me true
How fares it now with mine own country
And with the folks I knew?'
Oh, he looked up and he looked down,
And slow he shook his head,
And 'Sure the place is not the same
This many a year,' he said.
'For this one's dead, and that one's wed,
And that gone over sea:
You scarce would know the place again
So many changes be.'
'Tell me no more, no more,' I cried,
'This grievous news and ill:
Full well I know where'er you go
The round world stands not still.
For folks must die and folks most wive,
Since change and chance must be
Alike for those that bide at home
As those who use the sea.'
'Tell me if anything I'll find
I knew and loved before:
Do the trees stand up by Oakenclough,
The winds blow off the moor?
Do magpies in our planting build,
And hares by Blackbrook run,
And at the Top o' th' Lowe the grasses blow
All ruddy in the sun?'
'Still runs the brook, the trees stand up
By yonder cloughside still:
You can see your father's barn
Look over the windy hill.'
'There will I go, and there shall meet
Old ghosts of joy and pain,
And the folks I knew in the time that's gone
Shall greet me once again.'
'The lad that's dead, the lad that's wed,
With me shall leap and run,
As they did when we were boys at home
Ere roving days begun.'
'There is no land so lone and far,
There is no sea so wide,
There is no grave so deep that there
Shall they unheeding bide,
When the winds that blow in mine own country
Do call them to my side!'
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