Rotten Row

Original Text: 
Frederick Locker Lampson, London Lyrics, with introduction and notes by Austin Dobson (London: Macmillan, 1904): 52-54. PR 4891 L2 A17 1904 Robarts Library.
2    As well as much that's gay;
3I'd like the country if I could;
6I wonder why they call'd it so.
7A lively scene on turf and road;
8    The crowd is bravely drest:
10    The chairs are in request:
11The nimble air, so soft, so clear,
12Can hardly stir a ringlet here.
13I'll halt beneath those pleasant trees, --
14    And drop my bridle-rein,
15And, quite alone, indulge at ease
16    The philosophic vein:
17I'll moralise on all I see --
18Yes, it was all arranged for me!
19Forsooth, and on a livelier spot
20    The sunbeam never shines.
21Fair ladies here can talk and trot
22    With statesmen and divines:
23Could I have chosen, I'd have been
24A Duke, a Beauty, or a Dean.
25What grooms! What gallant gentlemen!
26    What well-appointed hacks!
27What glory in their pace, and then
28    What Beauty on their backs!
30If weighted as my Lady's nag.
31But where is now the courtly troop
32    That once rode laughing by?
33I miss the curls of Cantelupe,
35They all could laugh from night to morn,
36And Time has laugh'd them all to scorn.
37I then could frolic in the van
38    With dukes and dandy earls;
39Then I was thought a nice young man
40    By rather nice young girls!
41I've half a mind to join Miss Browne,
42And try one canter up and down.
43Ah, no -- I'll linger here awhile,
44    And dream of days of yore;
45For me bright eyes have lost the smile,
46    The sunny smile they wore: --
47Perhaps they say, what I'll allow,
48That I'm not quite so handsome now.


1] "[First printed in Macmillan's Magazine for November, 1867, and then included in the edition of 1870, p. 170.
The jetty, and latterly, grizzled curls (stanza 6) of George John Frederick, Viscount Cantelupe (1814-1850), the eldest son of the fifth Earl De La Warr, were long familiar to riders in the Row. He was a notable dandy and lady-killer. `Lord Cantelupe [is] the Apollo of the place [Rome]; four ladies [are] so in love that he cannot tear himself away' (Letters of Harriet Countess Granville, 1894, vol. ii. p. 348, under date of January, 1843). The late Lord Lamington had intended to give some account of this bygone notability in the sketches upon which he was engaged at his death, a portion of which were issued in 1890 with the title In the Days of the Dandies.]" (Austin Dobson's note, p. 179) Back to Line
4] the Park: presumably Hyde Park, bounded in London by Bayswater Road, Park Lane, and Knightsbridge and Kensington Road. Back to Line
5] Rotten Row: within Hyde Park, leading to Hyde Park Corner and just south of the Serpentine. Back to Line
9] The Ladies' Mile: Serpentine Road, parallel to and north of Rotten Row and the Serpentine. Back to Line
29] Pegasus: flying horse of classical legend. Back to Line
34] Lady Di: Perhaps the Di of Locker Lampson's "Our Photographs." Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.