Frederick Locker-Lampson


Piccadilly



    “Often, when I have felt a weariness or distaste at home, have I rushed out into her crowded Strand, and fed my humour till tears have wetted my cheek for unutterable sympathies with the multitudinous moving picture; * * nursed amid her noise, her crowds, her beloved smoke, what have I been doing all my life, if I have not lent out my heart with usury to such scenes!”

                                                             C. Lamb.

Gay shops, stately palaces, bustle and breeze,
The whirring of wheels, and the murmur of trees,
By night, or by day, whether noisy or stilly,
Whatever my mood is—I love Piccadilly.

Wet nights, when the gas on the pavement is streaming,
And young Love is watching, and old Love is dreaming,
And Beauty is whirl’d off to conquest, where shrilly
Cremona makes nimble thy toes, Piccadilly!

Bright days, when I leisurely pace to and fro,
And meet all the people I do or don’t know.
Here is jolly old Brown, and his fair daughter Lillie;—
No wonder some pilgrims affect Piccadilly!

See yonder pair, fonder ne’er rode at a canter,—
She smiles on her Poet, contented to saunter;
Some envy her spouse, and some covet her filly,
He envies them both—he’s an ass, Piccadilly!

Now were I that gay bride, with a slave at my feet,
I would choose me a house in my favourite street.
Yes or No—I would carry my point, willy, nilly;
If “no,” pick a quarrel, if “yes,” Piccadilly.

Thus the high frolic by—thus the lowly are seen,
As perched on the roof of yon bulky machine,
The Kensington dilly—and Tom Smith or Billy
Smoke doubtful cigars in ill-used Piccadilly.

And there’s the balcony, where, ages ago,
Old Q sat and gazed on the damsels below.
There are plausible wolves even now, seeking silly
Red Riding Hoods small in thy woods, Piccadilly!

And there is a Statesman, the Man of the Day,
A laughing philosopher, gallant and gay;
No darling of Fortune more manfully trod,
Full of years, full of fame, and the world at his nod,
Can the thought reach his heart, and then leave it more chilly,—
“Old P or Old Q I must quit Piccadilly?”

p. 18Life is chequer’d, a patchwork of smiles and of frowns;
We valued its ups, let us muse on its downs.
There’s a side that is bright, it will then turn the other,
One turn, if a good one, deserves such another.
These downs are delightful, these ups are not hilly,—
Let us turn one more turn ere we quit Piccadilly!






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