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Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday - Sunday from 11am to 8pm
Reading from Southbank Centre's Poetry Parnassus festival, 2012
‘O DREARY life,’ we cry, ‘O dreary life!’
And still the generations of the birds
Sing through our sighing, and the flocks and herds
Serenely live while we are keeping strife
With Heaven's true purpose in us, as a knife
Against which we may struggle! ocean girds
Unslackened the dry land, savannah-swards
Unweary sweep,—hills watch, unworn; and rife
Meek leaves drop yearly from the forest-trees,
To show above the unwasted stars that pass
In their old glory. O thou God of old,
Grant me some smaller grace than comes to these!—
But so much patience as a blade of grass
Grows by, contented through the heat and cold.
Rome has fallen, ye see it lying
Heaped in undistinguished ruin:
Nature is alone undying.
Hushed is the buzz of the noisy world,
Gently each bird to its home is flitting,
The flags o'er the sun's bright path are furled,
Soon will each flower with the dew be pearled
As asleep it lies unwitting.
Spell-bound is the ever-whispering air,
For, gazing aloft where the stars are peeping
In this holy silence everywhere
Tired Nature speaks in a fervent prayer
To Him who protects her sleeping.