WALTER DE LA MARE: Middlesex

County map of England showing Middlesex

 

There lived a small hermaphrodite beside the Silver Brent,
A stream meandering not in maps of Surry, Bucks or Kent;
Yet jealous elves from those sweet parts, this tiny mite to vex,
Would tease, torment, and taunt, and call him, “Master Middlesex!”

He lived on acorns, dewdrops, cowslips, bilberries, and snow –
A small, shy, happy, tuneful thing, and innocent of woe;
Except when those malignant imps, his tenderness to vex,
Would tease, torment, and taunt, and call him, “Master Middlesex!”

He ran away; he went to sea; to far Peru he came.
There where the Ataquipa flows and odorous cinchona blows and no one knows his name,
He nests now with the Humming-bird that sips but never pecks;
And silent slides the Silver Brent, and mute is “Middlesex”.