Arthur Symons

Below is one of my favourite poems by the decadent Arthur Symons… It just reminds me of being in a cab with someone exciting, driving along the Embankment as the streetlights twinkle their reflections on the Thames…



One little cab to hold us two

Night, an invisible dome of cloud,

The rattling wheels that made our whispers loud,

As heart-beats in the whispers grew;

And, long, the Embankment with its lights,

The pavement glittering with fallen rain,

The magic and mystery that is night’s,

And human love without the pain.


The river shook with wavering gleams,

Deep buried as the glooms that lay

Impenetrable as the grave of day,

Near and distant as our dreams.

A bright train flashed with all its squares

Of warm light where the bridge lay mistily.

The night was all about us: we were free,

Free of the day and all its cares!


That was an hour of bliss too long,

Too long to last where joy is brief.

Yet one escape of souls may yield relief

To many weary seasons’ wrong.

‘O last for ever!’ my heart cried;

It ended: heaven was done.

I had been dreaming by her side

That heaven was but begun.


Symons, Arthur, ‘Nocturne‘, from ‘Decadent Poetry from Wilde to Naidu‘, ed. Lisa Rodensky, (London: Penguin Classics, 2006), p. 41


Hmmm… It doesn’t matter to me that this poem was written in the 1890’s—-it captures that feeling of excitement, of being drunk in London, in the early hours of a winter’s night, cozying up in bliss as the rain falls on the windscreen, wishing that moment could last for all eternity.



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