The Stately Homes of England,
How beautiful they stand!
Amidst their tall ancestral trees,
O’er all the pleasant land;
The deer across their greensward bound
Through shade and sunny gleam,
And the swan glides past them with the sound
Of some rejoicing stream.
The merry Homes of England!
Around their hearths by night,
What gladsome looks of household love
Meet in the ruddy light.
There woman’s voice flows forth in song,
Or childish tale is told;
Or lips move tunefully along
Some glorious page of old.
The blessèd Homes of England!
How softly on their bowers
Is laid the holy quietness
That breathes from Sabbath hours!
Solemn, yet sweet, the church-bell’s chime
Floats through their woods at morn;
All other sounds, in that still time,
Of breeze and leaf are born.
The cottage Homes of England!
By thousands on her plains,
They are smiling o’er the silvery brooks,
And round the hamlet-fanes.
Through glowing orchards forth they peep,
Each from its nook of leaves;
And fearless there the lowly sleep,
As the bird beneath their eaves.
The free, fair Homes of England!
Long, long in hut and hall,
May hearts of native proof be reared
To guard each hallowed wall!
And green forever be the groves,
And bright the flowery sod,
Where first the child’s glad spirit loves
Its country and its God.
Felicia Dorothea Hemans [1793–1835]