Thomas Hood

(1789-1845 / London / England)

In Rotterdam


I

I gaze upon a city,—
A city new and strange,—
Down many a watery vista
My fancy takes a range;
From side to side I saunter,
And wonder where I am;
And can you be in England,
And I at Rotterdam!

II

Before me lie dark waters
In broad canals and deep,
Whereon the silver moonbeams
Sleep, restless in their sleep;
A sort of vulgar Venice
Reminds me where I am;
Yes, yes, you are in England,
And I'm at Rotterdam.

III

Tall houses with quaint gables,
Where frequent windows shine,
And quays that lead to bridges,
And trees in formal line,
And masts of spicy vessels
From western Surinam,
All tell me you're in England,
But I'm in Rotterdam.

IV

Those sailors, how outlandish
The face and form of each!
They deal in foreign gestures,
And use a foreign speech;
A tongue not learn'd near Isis,
Or studied by the Cam,
Declares that you're in England,
And I'm at Rotterdam.

V

And now across a market
My doubtful way I trace,
Where stands a solemn statue,
The Genius of the place;
And to the great Erasmus
I offer my salaam;
Who tells me you're in England,
But I'm at Rotterdam.

VI

The coffee-room is open—
I mingle in its crowd,—
The dominos are noisy—
The hookahs raise a cloud;
The flavor, none of Fearon's,
That mingles with my dram,
Reminds me you're in England,
And I'm at Rotterdam.

VII

Then here it goes, a bumper—
The toast it shall be mine,
In schiedam, or in sherry,
Tokay, or hock of Rhine;
It well deserves the brightest,
Where sunbeam ever swam—
'The Girl I love in England'
I drink at Rotterdam!

Submitted: Monday, April 05, 2010

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