Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Rotten Row, Hyde Park

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.

London Streets

Rotten Row, Hyde Park

By Frederick Locker-Lampson (1821–1895)

I HOPE I ’m fond of much that ’s good,

As well as much that ’s gay;

I ’d like the country if I could,

I like the Park in May:

And when I ride in Rotten Row,

I wonder why they called it so.

A lively scene on turf and road,

The crowd is smartly drest:

The Ladies’ Mile has overflowed,

The chairs are in request:

The nimble air, so soft and clear,

Can hardly stir a ringlet here.

I ’ll halt beneath these pleasant trees

And drop my bridle-rein,

And, quite alone, indulge at ease

The philosophic vein:

I ’ll moralize on all I see,—

I think it all was made for me!

Forsooth, and on a nicer spot

The sunbeam never shines;

Young ladies here can talk and trot

With statesmen and divines:

Could I have chosen, I ’d have been

A Duke, a Beauty, or a Dean!

What grooms! what gallant gentlemen!

What well-appointed hacks!

What glory in their pace,—and then

What beauties on their backs!

My Pegasus would never flag

If weighted as my lady’s nag.

But where is now that courtly troop

Who once rode laughing by?

I miss the curls of Cantilupe,

The smile of Lady Di:

They all could laugh from night to morn,

And Time has laughed them all to scorn.

I then could frolic in the van

With dukes and dandy earls;

I then was thought a nice young man

By rather nice young girls;

I ’ve half a mind to join Miss Browne,

And try one canter up and down.

Ah, no! I ’ll linger here awhile,

And dream of days of yore;

For me bright eyes have lost the smile,

The sunny smile they wore:—

Perhaps they say, what I ’ll allow,

That I ’m not quite so handsome now.