An interlude from my recent less-than-sanguine posts about the meaning of Life (involving Messrs. Henley, Belloc, and Larkin) is in order. Fortunately, the Hesperian Gardens are close at hand. I recently came upon this:
Out of the fog a dim figure accosted me. 'I beg your pardon, Sir, but could you tell me how to get to Cadogan Gardens?'
'Cadogan Gardens? I am afraid I am lost myself. Perhaps, Sir,' I added (we two seemed oddly intimate in that white world of mystery together), 'perhaps, Sir, you can tell me where I can find the Gardens I am looking for?' I breathed their name.
'Hesperian Gardens?' the voice repeated. 'I don't think I have ever heard of Hesperian Gardens.'
'Oh, surely!' I cried, 'the Gardens of the Sunset and the singing Maidens!'
Logan Pearsall Smith, More Trivia (1921).
"Hesperian Gardens" in turn brought to mind a poem by Derek Mahon:
One morning in the month of June
I was coming out of this door
And found myself in a garden,
A sanctuary of light and air
Transplanted from the Hesperides,
No sound of machinery anywhere,
When from a bramble bush a hidden
Blackbird suddenly gave tongue,
Its diffident, resilient song
Breaking the silence of the seas.
Derek Mahon, Selected Poems (The Gallery Press/Viking 1991).