Cicely Fox Smith
The Old Rectory - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith
They are going to pull down the old rectory next year,
So I hear,
And put up an ugly little red
Brick one instead . . .
Which, of course, as you say,
Is the sensible thing to do,
Wants those great rambling places to-day . . .
That great drawing-room with the tall
Gracious windows that let in the sun and show all
The worn bits on the carpet and chairs . . .
With the slender Queen Anne balustrades,
And the bedrooms - how many? Nine, I suppose,
Not counting nurseries - and the schoolroom whose paper still shows
Where the tinkling old Broadwood
And was practiced on year after year by girls
In crinolines, ringlets and curls;
Then the kitchens, immense, beetle-haunted and bleak,
And the vast yawning range that would swallow
Your coal for a year in a week . . .
The stabling, too, built long ago by some parson
Whose delight was to follow
The hounds every day (except Sunday, of course,
When he preached two dull sermons perforce) . . .
And all on four hundred a year,
maids . . .
So the days will go by, and the lawn will be knee-deep in grass,
Where you scatter the seeds
Of the weeds
As you pass
On the borders once fragrant with flowers . . .
And the warm sunny hours
Bring no laughter, no flutter of muslins, no cries of
You pig - just look - he's sent me to Jericho!'
And the mallets are broken and rotten,
And the balls all lost and forgotten . . .
Ah well! . . . Yes, as you say,
No one wants these great places to-day . . .
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