There's nowhere I would rather lie
Than under a tall, wide Suffolk sky;
There's nowhere I would rather be
Than down at Southwold by the sea,
With lovely church, where long I've tarried
And, forty years ago, was married.
Oh give me a Suffolk salt sea marsh
Where, though the east wind can be harsh,
You can hear the sound of the curlew's call,
The lapwing's cry, and see the tall
Grey herons, and best of all can hark
To the glorious, soaring song of the lark;
The lark, who knows that Nature's part
For him is to sing with all his heart
As if he's in his seventh heaven -
With a voice like his he deserves all seven;
His song ascends up, up on high
And away he soars in the tall, wide sky.
Oh give me a marsh of moss and sedge,
Where the reeds stand tall at the water's edge,
Where time stands still and you feel at ease
As the grasses ripple in the sun-kissed breeze;
Where the creeks meander but the drains run straight,
And your cares are lost in a blissful state.
A half mile on and then you reach
Beyond the dunes, the shingle beach
Where the spume-edged waves cause a constant jingle
As they swish and swash up the salt-rimed shingle;
And as you gaze at the grey-green sea
Your thoughts are lost in eternity.
At marsh's edge is Old Quay Inn,
With red Dutch gables, warm within,
Which my wife's ancestor* once kept
As victualler; and smugglers crept
Beneath a tall, wide starry sky;
For there 'the gentlemen' passed by.
Oh give me a beach where wild waves roar
And break upon an east coast shore;
Or give me a sheltered harbour wall
For fishing from where seagulls call.
Or boats that land a treasure that's
The best of all - a catch of sprats.
Oh give me a town with a lofty white -
Painted lighthouse and its warning light;
With seven greens and guns on a hill;
An ancient town, where time stands still;
A town that's graceful and, though small,
Is full of charms that never pall.
And none can find, how far they search,
A finer fifteenth century church,
With fleche on roof, whose porch and screen,
Whose font and pulpit must be seen;
And Southwold Jack, who knows full well
Has, every hour, to smite his bell.
Then after church and parson's tale
A pint of splendid Adnam's ale
Or, if you wish, a glass of wine
Is good to have before you dine;
The Swan's the place or else The Crown,
The pick of hotels in the town.
And, most of all, what I aspire
To do when I at last retire
Is to spend my days on the Suffolk coast
In that little town that I love the most;
It's there, beneath that tall, wide sky
Of Southwold that I wish to die.
* Sophia Smith d 1891
Bill Schaeffer (Sevenoaks)