A SOUTH COUNTRY SONG
And the men that were boys when I was a boy Walking along with me.
The men that live in North England
I saw them for a day : Their hearts are set upon the waste fells,
Their skies are fast and grey : From their castle-walls a man may see
The mountains far away.
The men that live in West England
They see the Severn strong, A-rolling on rough water brown
Light aspen leaves along. They have the secret of the Rocks,
And the oldest kind of song.
But the men that live in the South Country
Are the kindest and most wise, They get their laughter from the loud surf,
And the faith in their happy eyes Comes surely from our Sister the Spring,
When over the sea she flies ; The violets suddenly bloom at her feet,
She blesses us with surprise.
I never get between the pines,
But I smell the Sussex air, Nor I never come on a belt of sand
But my home is there ; And along the sky the line of the Downs
So noble and so bare.
A lost thing could I never find,
Nor a broken thing mend ; And I fear I shall be all alone
When I get towards the end. Who will there be to comfort me,
Or who will be my friend ?
I will gather and carefully make my friends Of the men of the Sussex Weald,
They watch the stars from silent folds, They stiffly plough the field.
By them and the God of the South Country My poor soul shall be healed.