Ye Flags of Piccadilly

Arthur Hugh Clough

Ye flags of Piccadilly,
Where I posted up and down,
And wished myself so often
Well away from you and town--

Are the people walking quietly
And steady on their feet,
Cabs and omnibuses plying
Just as usual in the street?

Do the houses look as upright
As of old they used to be,
And does nothing seem affected
By the pitching of the sea?

Through the Green Park iron railings
Do the quick pedestrians pass?
Are the little children playing
Round the plane-tree in the grass?

This squally wild northwester
With which our vessel fights,
Does it merely serve with you to
Carry up some paper kites?

Ye flags of Piccadilly,
Which I hated so, I vow
I could wish with all my heart
You were underneath me now!

Arthur Hugh Clough was born in Britain, but spent most of his childhood in Charleston South Carolina. He returned to England to study at Rugby School, under its famous headmaster, Thomas Arnold.

Arthur Hugh Clough also became a close friend of Thomas Arnold's son, the great poet, Matthew Arnold. Arnold wrote his great poem Thyrsis, in memory of his friend.