The Old Vicarage, Grantchester by Rupert Brooke

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"And Is There Honey Still For Tea?"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: In Berlin, May, 1912, the poet, observing the coming of spring to Germany, is reminded of his homeland, England. "Would I were/ In Grantchester, in Grantchester!" he sighs. He begins to recall and picture the many joys of "the lovely hamlet Grantchester," some sentimentally idyllic and others humorously exaggerated by his enthusiasm. He recalls the beauties of nature, still as inspiring as they were to England's great poets; and the joys of the fun-loving people, far superior in their attitude to people of other parts of England, such as "Cambridge [where] people rarely smile . . . /And Ditton [where] girls are mean and dirty" and Harston where "there's none . . . under thirty." The poet then awakens from his daydreaming and begins to ask himself a series of serious questions concerning his beloved Grantchester. His first questions are about the landscape, the climate, and the customs. Finally his questions become philosophical as he inquires about the English virtues of his homeland:

Say, is there Beauty yet to find?
And Certainty? and Quiet kind?
Deep meadows yet, for to forget
The lies, and truths, and pain? . . . oh! yet
Stands the Church clock at ten to three?
And is there honey still for tea?