A Summer Noon

William Howitt, English (1792–1879)

from Worlds Best Poetry, 1904


WHO has not dreamed a world of bliss
On a bright sunny noon like this,
Couched by his native brook’s green maze,
With comrade of his boyish days,
While all around them seemed to be
 Just as in joyous infancy?


Who has not loved, at such an hour,
Upon that heath, in birchen bower,
Lulled in the poet’s dreamy mood,
Its wild and sunny solitude?
While o’er the waste of purple ling
You mark a sultry glimmering;
Silence herself there seems to sleep,
Wrapped in a slumber long and deep,
Where slowly stray those lonely sheep
Through the tall foxglove’s crimson bloom,
And gleaming of the scattered broom.


Love you not, then, to list and hear
The crackling of the gorse-flowers near,
Pouring an orange-scented tide
Of fragrance o’er the desert wide?
To hear the buzzard’s whimpering shrill,
Hovering above you high and still?
The twittering of the bird that dwells
Among the heath’s delicious bells?
 While round your bed, o’er fern and blade,
Insects in green and gold arrayed,
The sun’s gay tribes have lightly strayed;
And sweeter sound their humming wings
Than the proud minstrel’s echoing strings.