Here dwell together still two men of note
Who never lived and so can never die:
How very near they seem, yet how remote
That age before the world went all awry.
But still the game’s afoot for those with ears
Attuned to catch the distant view-halloo:
England is England yet, for all our fears–
Only those things the heart believes are true.
A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
As night descends upon this fabled street:
A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
And it is always eighteen ninety-five.
Starrett also wrote a biography of Sherlock Holmes in 1933 entitled The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (not to be confused with the Billy Wilder film of the same name). In this, we can see the beginnings of his ideas for the poem: "But there can be no grave for Sherlock Holmes or Doctor Watson . . . Shall they not always live in Baker Street? Are they not there as one writes? . . . Outside the hansoms rattle through the rain, and Moriarty plans his latest deviltry. Within, the sea coal flames upon the hearth and Holmes and Watson take their well-won ease . . . So they still live for all that love them well: in a romantic chamber of the heart, in a nostalgic country of the mind, where it is always 1895."