The Song of an Exile

Original Text: 
William Hamilton, Modern Poems (Oxford: B. H. Blackwell, 1917): 50-51. 011648.eee.17 British Library
3    I have walked the lanes, a rover;
4        I have dreamed beside the rill:
5    I have known the fields awaking
6        To the gentle touch of Spring;
7    The joy of morning breaking,
8        And the peace your twilights bring.
9But I long for a sight of the pines, and the blue shadows under;
10For the sweet-smelling gums, and the throbbing of African air;
11For the sun and the sand, and the sound of the surf's ceaseless thunder,
12The height, and the breadth and the depth, and the nakedness there!
13    I have visited your cities
14        Where the unregenerate dwell;
15    I have trilled the ploughman's ditties
16        To the mill-wheel and the well.
17    I have heard the poised lark's singing
18        To the blue of summer skies;
19    The whirr of pheasants winging,
20        And the crash when grouse arise.
22For the crack of the trek-whip, the shimmer of dust-laden noon;
23For the day sudden dying; the croak of the frogs, and the shiver
24Of tropical night, and the stars, and the low hanging moon.
25    I have listen'd in the gloaming
26        To your poets' tales of old;
27    I know, when I am roaming
28        That I walk on hallowed mould.
29    I have lived and fought among you
30        And I trow your hearts are steel;
31    That the nations who deride you
32        Shall, like dogs, be brought to heel.
33But I pine for the roar of the lion on the edge of the clearing;
34For the rustle of grass snake; the birds' flashing wing in the heath;
35For the sun shrivelled peaks of the mountains to blue heaven rearing;


1] Cliffs of Dover: white chalk cliffs, the first thing of Britain one sees on crossing the English Channel from France. Back to Line
2] the White Horse on the Hill: on Whitehorse Hill, at Uffington, Oxfordshire, a huge prehistoric figure of a horse (374 feet long) has been cut from the turf, revealing the chalky white subsoil. Back to Line
21] veldt: the open countryside or pasture. Back to Line
36] outlook: `outook' in 1917. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2000.