Thursday, 22 April 2010


Finally back in Oxford, a week after we should have been, via Denmark, Germany and Holland, after a three-day journey involving 25 hours on ferries, 12 hours driving on scary foreign motorways, and various incomprehensible little trains and busses. I think this demonstrates an almost superhuman commitment to Old Norse studies. And this was the view from my window when I finally woke up this morning:

Home Thoughts, from Abroad
Robert Browning

O, to be in England
Now that April 's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England—now!

And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossom'd pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray's edge—
That 's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
—Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

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