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Why am I here alone?

Alone! the sun is high,

The leaves on the trees are still,

Birds fly about at will, %

Midst trees and bushes, while I

Am here, on a cold grey stone.

I have left the haunts of men,
Fled from the turmoil of life,
And the hollow paths of vice.
The city is bustling; its voice
At morn awakened to strife,
Disturbs even this peaceful glen.

London! I look back on thee,
Think on this age of crime;
Wonder if yet can be found,
Hearts living within thy round,
Untouched by the taint of the time,
Loving, happy, and free.

Tired and sick am I,

Of walking along each street,

So cold, so dull, and drear.

Each step makes one shiver and fear,

Lest a murderer's face you should meet,

Or one with a curse in his eye.

"Fool! you had better return:
Leave the glen silent and sad,
Re-enter the busy town;
Why did you ever come down 1
But to nourish thoughts black and bad,
To seek rest but inwardly burn."

"Re-enter the busy throng,
Glide with others along the wave,
Learn wisdom from the woe past,
Fits like thine only last
Till another comes to save
The soul from projected wrong."

The sun points the hour of noon,
Shining brightly above,
When I walk again through the street.
Still I turn from each one I meet,
From each peering face I move;
I shall reach the West End soon.


Tramp, tramp, along the street,
How the pavements resound!
How the vehicles hurry by!
Scarce can you keep your feet,
Or look for a moment around,
The passengers throng so nigh.

Mud splashed up in your face,
Dust blown into your eyes,
Noise dinning into your ears.
Surely it is a disgrace,
Though now, not the least surprise,
To every one when he hears,

That this city is so bad,

So foul, so dingy and close,

Yet still so busy and quick.

All London must be mad,

Or one would surely arise,

To remove each mouldering brick,

To tear down hovels by scores,
To pave with superior care;
To clean from mud and dirt,
To open the long-closed doors,

To let in pure fresh air,

And clean windows down with a squirt.

A Viaduct now is the talk;
Now is it Blackfriars Bridge:
The Underground Railway now.
But the masses who daily work,
Toiling o'er each rut and ridge,
Wiping sweat from the brow,

Ever think of improvements with dread.
For though things can scarcely be worse
Than they are in the busy town,
They had rather risk being led
Blindfolded along the course,
Or go suffering still up and down,

Than see the old streets pulled about,
By those whose self-interest alone,
Without care for public weal,
Are ever so eager to rout,
Each ancient building or stone,
In their antiquarian zeal.

Fleet Street was bad as a ditch,
The stones lay uneven and wide,
The mud in between splashing up.

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