Soon will the high midsummer pomps come
Soon will the musk carnations break and swell,
Soon shall we have gold-dusted snapdragon,
Sweetwilliam with his homely cottage smell,
And stocks in fragrant blow:
Roses that down the alley shine afar,
And open, jasmine-muffled lattices,
And groups under the dreaming garden trees,
And the full moon, and the white evening star.
Such was the life we lived. If we looked back at all to the life we had left, it was with that sort of sick horror which a prisoner may feel who has endured and survived a long term of imprisonment. It seemed to us that we had never really lived before. The past was a dream, and an evil dream. We had moved in a world of bad enchantment, like phantoms, barely conscious of ourselves. We had now recovered proprietorship in our own lives. Work, that had been a curse, was a blessing. Life, that had gone on maimed feet, was now virile in every part. This mere fulness of health was in itself ample compensation for the loss of a hundred artificial pleasures which we had once thought necessary to existence. We knew that we had found a delight in mere living which must remain wholly incredible to the tortured hosts that toil in cities; and we knew also that when at last we came to lie down with kings and conquerors in the house of sleep, we should carry with us fairer dreams than they ever knew amid all the tumult of their triumph.
There is a wonderful passage in Timon of Athens which appears to express in a few strokes, at once broad and subtle, the picture and the ideal of a perfect city: