Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > England
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV.  1876–79.
London Streets
Regent Street
James Cochrane
HEAVENS! what a scene of splendor and of dash!
What seeming maze, and yet what perfect order!
We feel as if upon destruction’s border
The crowd were treading; we have seen the flash,
And, breathless, look, expecting the loud crash;        5
Yet all moves on harmonious as the spheres:
Coach, chariot, cab appears and disappears,
And prancing horseman with gay plume and sash;
The lumbering dray with horses huge, the van,
And omnibuses,—count them if you can!        10
Heavens, what a sight! and yet to ponder well,
The scene has less of grandeur than of gloom,
For, viewed aright, what is this spectacle?
What but a vast procession to the tomb?
AWAY with all the tales good men devise
(Good easy men, to their kind feelings dupes)
Of holes and hovels in which misery troops!
Away with all statistics,—they are lies!
Can man misdoubt the witness of his eyes,—
Believe that poverty and suffering dwell        20
Where old and young are streaming on pell-mell
To Circe’s temple, eager votaries?
It cannot be that mitred heads can loll
In cushioned chariots, drawn by pampered steeds;
That woman, who her tears can scarce control        25
At Misery’s tale, such flaunting follies heeds,
While thousands, near, are pining with disease,
Whom one kind look of sympathy would ease!

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