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Oh come you home of Sunday3
When Ludlow streets are still,
and Ludlow bells are calling
To farm and lane and mill,
Or come you home of Monday When Ludlow market
And Ludlow chimes are playing
'The Conquoring Hero comes.'
And they do play that tune every Monday in the year,
and even now they are calling to farm and lane and mill. I've so much to tell you,
Dorothy, that I've simply run away from the task of doing it; I never ran such a
gauntlet of experiences. I draw a long
slgh sigh of
relief when I think I am to tell you them in Paris4.
we6 went directly to Chester7, lost our hearts to the place and stayed there five days. Then we coached fifty miles
to Shrewsbury8 and there saw how
"High the vanes of Shrewsbury gleam9
Islanded in Severn stream,
The bridges, from the steepled crest,
Cross the water east and west."
We sat for two sunsets on the very spot where he10 must have done it and watched the red
spee steeples in the clear green water which flows almost imperceptibly.
And what do you think was going on in the wide meadows on the other shore? Why boys
pere were playing foot-ball!
"Is foot ball
along the river shore?"
Well I guess yes. And we went to Shrewsbury jail. You remember
"They hang us now in Shrewsbury jail;12
The whistles blow so forlorn
And trains all night groan on the rail
To lads that die at morn."
Of course they do, for the jail, which is the
grewsome building 2
the hand of man ever made, is on a naked hill right over the switch yard and
station, so you see "forlorn" was not put there to rhyme with "morn." Somehow it
makes it all the greater to have it all true. When we
got into Shropshire we threw away our guide books and have blindly followed the
trail of the Shropshire Lad and he has lead us beside still waters and in green pastures13. Of course no one
in Shropshire has his books or ever heard of him, but we telegraphed his publisher14 for his address and will see him in
London15. I read the old files of the
county paper to where most of the verses first came out16.
I dont know when we shall leave here. Ludlow Castle17 in itself is enough to hold me forever. It is one of the
most perfect Norman-Elizabethan compounds in England18 and one of the least visited. The history of the 3 place and the
magnitude of its interior together are enough to turn one daft. Is'nt it nice that Sir Philip Sidney19 grew
up and first wrote in Ludlow Castle when his
father20 held the Welsh border here for Elizabeth21? We have read those
two singing Shropshire Lads until our eyes are blinded and
our reason distraught. They are not so unalike, either. Yesterday we bribed the
keeper and climbed the circular stairway to the very top of the old Norman keep, and
their there, over ivy, ivy, ivy, walls and
walls, the ruined splendor of a thousand years, all
on the topmost turrets, a thousand scarlet poppies flaunted their color and nodded
and balanced themselves in the wind.
When ages old remind me22
How much hath gone for naught,
What wretched ghost remaineth
Of all that flesh hath wrought;
Of love and song and warring,
Of ádventure and play,
Of art and comely building,
Of faith and form and fray,
I'll mind the flowers of pleasure, Of short-lived youth and sleep That drank the sunny weather A-top of Ludlow keep. I've been madly a-doing those poppies in every metre I know ever since I saw them, and all are alike unsuccessful. We are stopping at the most beautiful old hotel23 in the world, which was for three hundred years the over-flow house to the Castle, all black oak and diamond windows and that. We are going to bicycle to Wenlock Edge this afternoon, "Oh tarnish late on Wenlock edge"24 etc. I'll not quit Shropshire till I know every name he uses. They are just making hay now, too, and I think I might almost find Maurice behind the mows25 somewhere. I hope to find letters in London telling me when to meet you in Paris. To meet you at last, and tell you everything!