An Older England

There has always been in England
   An older England still,
Where Chaucer rode to Canterbury
   And Falstaff drank his fill.

Where poets scrawled immortal lines
   Beside a daffodil,
And lovers lay upon the grass
   Atop of Bredon Hill.

Where parson in his pulpit droned
   As Nancy winked at Bill,
Where Brontës conjured moonlit paths
   And Hardy drowned a mill.

Where jolly tars sailed hearts-of-oak
   From China to Brazil,
And foxes sought out Squire’s pack
   To race them for the thrill.

We never could cease worshipping
   What never was— nor will;
There has always been in England
   An older England still.


Mandalay, Mustique December 25, 2005


“I think Shakespeare was greatly preoccupied... with the loss of innocence and I think there has always been in England an older England, which was sweeter and purer, where the hay smelled better and the weather was always springlike and the daffodils blew in gentle warm breezes.” — Orson Welles, near the end of his life, talking about Falstaff to the BBC