James Elroy Flecker

The Ballad of Camden Town

I walked with Maisie long years back
    The streets of Camden Town,
I splendid in my suit of black,
    And she divine in brown.

Hers was a proud and noble face,
    A secret heart, and eyes
Like water in a lonely place
    Beneath unclouded skies.

A bed, a chest, a faded mat,
    And broken chairs a few,
Were all we had to grace our flat
    In Hazel Avenue.

But I could walk to Hampstead Heath,
    And crown her head with daisies,
And watch the streaming world beneath,
    And men with other Maisies.

When I was ill and she was pale
    And empty stood our store,
She left the latchkey on its nail,
    And saw me nevermore.

Perhaps she cast herself away
    Lest both of us should drown:
Perhaps she feared to die, as they
    Who die in Camden Town.

What came of her? The bitter nights
    Destroy the rose and lily,
And souls are lost among the lights
    Of painted Piccadilly.

What came of her? The river flows
    So deep and wide and stilly,
And waits to catch the fallen rose
    And clasp the broken lily.

I dream she dwells in London still
    And breathes the evening air,
And often walk to Primrose Hill,
    And hope to meet her there.

Once more together we will live,
    For I will find her yet:
I have so little to forgive;
    So much, I can't forget.