"Go Down To Kew In Lilac-time"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Kew, a residential area in the suburbs of London, situated on the south bank of the Thames, is a noted garden spot and therefore a natural setting for parts of this poem. It is a tuneful poem, with rhythmic variations, dealing with vague sensations and values related to the City of dead dreams as well as to all human experience in general. The barrel-organ is a familiar means of both humanizing these sensations, by translating them into music, and glorifying them by rendering a kind of heavenly service in its playing. Functionally the music with its many variations "dissects the common carnival/ Of passions and regrets,/ And gives the world a glimpse of all/ The colours it forgets." In tracing these sensations and colors of experience the scene shifts from the invisible world to the physical and present. In the here and now the intensely significant emotions and experiences are to be found in "summer's wonderland," among the blooming trees and the singing birds. Therefore, the poet advises one to

Go down to Kew in lilac-time, in lilac-time, in lilac-time;
Go down to Kew in lilac-time (it isn't far from London!)
And you shall wander hand in hand with love in summer's wonderland;
Go down to Kew in lilac-time (it isn't far from London!)