Posts Tagged ‘English poets’

(click on the mosaic to have a clear view of the images in the mosaic – Hawker’s Hut is in the first image) 

Photo updates

As I promised this morning, I’m back to tell you about Hawker and his hut. Hawker was a vicar, very famous and the same time eccentric. He built the Rectory Farm with his own money – as the previous one was beyond repair. The Rectory has five chimneys which represented the five parishes where he served previously. He cared for education and built the local primary school – St Mark’s School. The school was built in the shape of a cross.  As a result of the Rectory and school, he was a poor man for the rest of his life. Hawker was not only a vicar, but also a poet. He also introduced the Harvest Festival like we know it today. On the cliffs of Morwenstow – he built a hut from driftwood. In his hut he used to read his mail and write his poems. Apparently he enjoyed getting mail and was quite sad/upset when the postman didn’t bring him any mail. What made him eccentric, – apart from other likes/dislikes –  is the fact that he smoked opium!  He was married twice and his first wife was about 20 years his senior. On his death-bed, 14 August 1875, he was received into the Catholic Church.

We stayed at a B&B in Morwenstow, a tiny hamlet. Shop is about 1,5 miles from Morwenstow towards Bude.  Shop is a tiny village where you will find a primary school, a tiny local shop with a post office and a few houses. Walking distance from the B&B – towards the cliffs of Morwenstow –  is Crosstown, also a tiny hamlet. It is when walking towards Crosstown, that you experience the fresh breeze blowing inland from the jagged coastline and this is where you will find Hawker’s hut, the smallest property of the National Trust. I borrowed a small booklet about this corner of Cornish-land from Carol at the B&B and will need to contact her in order to get the title of the booklet. I think I got distracted by Hector, their dog and I didn’t even finish all my writing about Hawker from the booklet. I’m going to quote what I have  for you to enjoy. I’ve also found some of his poems and a ballad, which is almost like a national anthem for the people of Cornish-country. In my next entry I will have pictures about Boscastle, a beautiful coastal fisherman’s town.  In 2004 Boscastle was flooded and I was surprised to see how the town has recovered.

Robert Stephen Hawker began his priesthood at Morwenstow in 1834. He became one of the best-known, most talked-about clerics in the kingdom. His exploits coping with shipwrecked sailors alone made him a legend in his lifetime. His parish had a background of smuggling and wrecking, non-conformity and a degree of poverty. His people were mostly farmers and labourers and many of the labourers were poverty stricken. He immediately identified himself with the people and the place and put himself on the map and in the history books as one of the most colourful figures of all time in the West country. “Footprints of Former Men” is one book written by him. He had long hair but loathed beards and was proud of his ears which had no lobes – saying the Duke of Wellington had such ears and that the same features could be traced in all the acurate pictures of Our Lord. Oscar Wilde said “One should always be a little improbable.”  R. S. Hawker was more than a little. He had quirks and passions – strong dislikes. Hawker perpetuated the legend (some say he invented it) that the saint Morwena was the daughter of Breachan, a Celtic King who lived in the ninth century. He claimed that he had seen the ghost of saint Morwena. Morwenstow origins from the Celtic word “Morwen” –  which means “white or fair as the sea” – and the Saxon word “stow” which means “Church”. John Betjeman visited the parish in the 1930’s and wrote in his research notes: “Out of the trees rise the vicarage chimney stacks in the form of miniature church towers, part of the Gothic fancy of the builder, the Rev RS Hawker, its poetic and Tractarian vicar…”

Are they not all Ministering Spirits?
By Robert Stephen Hawker

We see them not – we cannot hear
The music of their wing –
Yet know we that they sojourn near,
The Angels of the spring!

They glide along this lovely ground
When the first violet grows;
Their graceful hands have just unbound
The zone of yonder rose.

I gather it for thy dear breast,
From stain and shadow free:
That which an Angel’s touch hath blest
Is meet, my love, for thee!

The Butterfly
By Robert Stephen Hawker

Bird of the moths! That radiant wing
Hath borne thee from thine earthly lair;
Thou revellest on the breath of spring,
A graceful shape of woven air!

The glories of the earth are thine,
The joyful breese, the balmy sky;
For thee the starry roses shine,
And violets in their valleys sigh.

Yet was the scene as soft and bright
When thou wert low in wormy rest:
The skies of summer gushed with light,
The blossoms breathed on Nature’s breast.

But thou that gladness didst not share,
A cave restrained that shadowy form;
In vain did fragrance fill the air,
Dew soften and the sunbeams warm.

Dull was thy day – a living death,
Till the great change in glory came,
And thou, a thing of life and breath,
Didst cleave the air with quivering frame!

My son! my son! read, mark, and learn
This parable of summer skies,
Until thy trusting spirit yearn,
Like the bright moth, to rush and rise.

Lo! round and near, a mightier scene,
With hues that flesh may not behold;
There all things glow with loveliest mien,
And earthly forms have heavenly mould!

Oh! for that place of paths divine,
By the freed soul in rapture trod;
The upper air, the fields that shine,
For ever in the light of God!

‘The Song of the Western Men’.

A good sword and a trust hand!
A merry heart and true
King James’s men shall understand
What Cornish lads can do!

And have they fixed the where and when?
And shall Trelawny die ?
Here’s twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!

Out spake our Captain brave and bold
A merry wight was he;
‘If London Tower were Michael’s hold’
We’d set Trelawny free

‘We’ll cross the Tamar, land to land:
The Seven is no stay:
With ‘one and all’, and hand in hand;
And who shall bid us nay?.

‘And when we come to London Wall,
A pleasant sight to view,
Come forth! Come forth!
Ye cowards all;Here’s men as good as you

‘Trelawny he’s in the keep and hold:
Trelawny he may die
But here’s twenty thousand Cornish bold
Will know the reason why!
by Robert Stephen Hawker 1825


Crosstown, where there is a 13th Century pub, “The Bush-Inn”. Crosstown is about 500m from the B&B. It’s also the road towards Hawker’s Hut. The Rectory Farm is about 500m from the Bush-Inn. The Rectory Farm is the 2nd image top-left in the mosaic-image.


The road to Shop…at this fork – which is about 800m from the B&B – you turn right…


Inside Hawker’s hut.


The roof of Hawker’s hut.


The church of St Morwenna and St John the Baptist at Morwenstow. There are more than 40 graves –  mostly from shipwrecked sailors.


The church from a different view.


A ship’s figurehead serves as a grave marker in the churchyard at the church of St Morwenna and St John the Baptist, Morwenstow.



St John’s Well

If you look closely, you will see the graves of the soldiers.


This is Hector, the B&B-dog,  he is about 12 years old.
here for the route and details. This walk is about 2-3 miles. The link will open in a new window.

This incident happened on Friday and we were there Friday till 11 am before we left the area. See the  original news article here. The link will open in a new window.

Sea search called off for missing man

Sunday 12th April 10:00

THE search has been called off for a man who went missing off the Cornish coast. A massive rescue operation was launched on Friday evening after two men got into difficulties on cliffs in North Cornwall. One person was rescued by emergency services halfway down the cliff face at Hawker’s Hut at Morwenstow, north of Bude. He was winched to safety by the helicopter crew from RNAS Culdrose.
The search, which included Bude lifeboat crews, the Bude Coastguard team and officers from Devon and Cornwall police, continued for the second man on Friday night and Saturday before it was abandoned yesterday afternoon. The name of the missing man, who is in his early 20s, is not known at this time.
The circumstances surrounding the rescue operation are still unclear. Speaking on Firday, a spokesman for Bude Lifeboat Station said: “We found clothes belonging to the second casualty at Hawker’s Hut. I don’t think the two people were swimming – it’s more likely that they were climbing down the cliff to see the rock pools and then got into trouble.
“We have a big spring tide at the moment which is very powerful – we are just hoping that he’s not in the water.”

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Image and info…Wikipedia

A Friday-night poem to enjoy!

Alfred Noyes (September 16, 1880 – June 28, 1958) was an English poet, best known for his ballads The Highwayman (1906) and The Barrel Organ.

Born in Wolverhampton, England, he was the son of Alfred and Amelia Adams Noyes. Noyes attended Exeter College, Oxford, leaving before he had earned a degree.

At 21 years of age, he published his first collection of poems, The Loom Years. From 1903 to 1908, Noyes published five volumes of poetry books, including The Forest of Wild Thyme and The Flower of Old Japan and Other Poems.

In 1907, he married Garnett Daniels. He was given the opportunity to teach English literature at Princeton University, where he taught from 1914 until 1923. Noyes’ wife died in 1926, resulting in his conversion to Roman Catholicism. He wrote about his conversion in The Unknown God, published in 1934.

Noyes later married Mary Angela Mayne Weld-Blundell, from an old recusant Catholic family from Ince Blundell in Lancashire. They settled at Lisle Combe, near Ventnor on the Isle of Wight and had three children: Hugh, Veronica, and Margaret. His younger daughter married Michael Nolan (later Lord Nolan) in 1953.

He later started dictating his work as a result of increasing blindness. In 1953, his autobiography, Two Worlds for Memory, was published.

Noyes died at the age of 77 and was buried on the Isle of Wight. He authored around sixty books, including poetry volumes, novels, and short stories.

During the next five years, Noyes published five additional volumes of poetry, including Poems (1904). One of Noyes’ most ambitious works, Drake: An English Epic, was first published in 1906. The twelve-book, two hundred page epic is thought to be too long by some critics, but nonetheless, an impressive example of Noyes’ talent and creativity. Arguably Noyes’ most beloved poem, The Highwayman, was published in Forty singing seamen and other poems in 1907.

Noyes spent much of the Second World War in North America, returning to Great Britain in 1949. Two Worlds For Memory, in which he described his life between America and Great Britain, was published in 1953. He published his last volume of poems in 1956, A Letter to Lucian, and his last book in 1957, The Accusing Ghost, or Justice for Casement. (During the First World War Noyes, while engaging in propaganda work for the British government, publicly alleged that the recently-exexcuted Irish Nationalist Roger casement had been a homosexual. After WB Yeats published a poem on Casement in the 1930s attacking Noyes by name, Noyes announced that he now believed the diaries cited as evidence of Casement’s homosexuality were forged. THE ACCUSING GHOST argues this case. The diaries were not then available to the public; they were released after Noyes’ death and most (though not all) commentators now believe them to be genuine.)On 25 June 1958, Alfred Noyes died on the Isle of Wight and was buried in the Roman Catholic cemetery at Freshwater.”



The Highwayman a poem by Alfred Noyes

The wind was a torrent of darkness upon the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight looping the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding
Riding riding
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn door.

He’d a French cocked hat on his forehead, and a bunch of lace at his chin;
He’d a coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of fine doe-skin.
They fitted with never a wrinkle; his boots were up to his thigh!
And he rode with a jeweled twinkle
His rapier hilt a-twinkle
His pistol butts a-twinkle, under the jeweled sky.

Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
He tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred,
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter
Bess, the landlord’s daughter
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

Dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim, the ostler listened–his face was white and peaked
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord’s daughter
The landlord’s black-eyed daughter;
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say:

“One kiss, my bonny sweetheart; I’m after a prize tonight,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light.
Yet if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.”

He stood upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair in the casement! His face burnt like a brand
As the sweet black waves of perfume came tumbling o’er his breast,
Then he kissed its waves in the moonlight
(O sweet black waves in the moonlight!),
And he tugged at his reins in the moonlight, and galloped away to the west.

He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon.
And out of the tawny sunset, before the rise of the moon,
When the road was a gypsy’s ribbon over the purple moor,
The redcoat troops came marching
Marching marching
King George’s men came marching, up to the old inn-door.

They said no word to the landlord; they drank his ale instead,
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed.
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets by their side;
There was Death at every window,
And Hell at one dark window,
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.

They had bound her up at attention, with many a sniggering jest!
They had tied a rifle beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast!
“Now keep good watch!” and they kissed her. She heard the dead man say,
“Look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though Hell should bar the way.”

She twisted her hands behind her, but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,
Till, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!

The tip of one finger touched it, she strove no more for the rest;
Up, she stood up at attention, with the barrel beneath her breast.
She would not risk their hearing, she would not strive again,
For the road lay bare in the moonlight,
Blank and bare in the moonlight,
And the blood in her veins, in the moonlight, throbbed to her love’s refrain.

Tlot tlot, tlot tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hooves, ringing clear;
Tlot tlot, tlot tlot, in the distance! Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding
Riding riding
The redcoats looked to their priming! She stood up straight and still.

Tlot tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment, she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight
Her musket shattered the moonlight
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him with her death.

He turned, he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o’er the casement, drenched in her own red blood!
Not till the dawn did he hear it, and his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
The landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.

Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
Blood-red were his spurs in the golden noon, wine-red was his velvet coat
When they shot him down in the highway,
Down like a dog in the highway,
And he lay in his blood in the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.

And still on a winter’s night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a gypsy’s ribbon looping the purple moor,
The highwayman comes riding
Riding riding
The highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard,
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred,
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter
Bess, the landlord’s daughter
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

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“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth



Die Affodil-dans

Alleen wandel ek
soos ‘n los-wolkie
wat sweef oor hoë berge,
heuwels, valleie en dale
Skielik sien ek ‘n plaat Affodille
‘n blink-geel, songeel,
goudgeel versameling
wat skitter en skyn
langs die meer onder die bome
swewend en dansend
buigend en juigend
nÁ die Somerreëns

Langsamerhand – soos die sterreskyn
Glinsterend – soos in die Melkweg-lyn
Al langs die kant van die baai
Vang my blik die verruklike dans
die aanskoulike geswaai
van koppies wat draai
onder die hange van ‘n krans

Ver-weg op my rusbank
lê ek uitgestrek
Langsamerhand weerkaats
die dansende skynsel
in my binne-oog
Die opgewondenheid van alleen-wees
vervul my hart met plesier
en ek dans die dans!
van die blinkgeel, songeel,
goudgeel, bly-geel Affodille!

©Nikita 26th August 2008

Wordsworth’s house in Cockermouth, where he was born. He spent his later years in Dove Cottage – in Grasmere – and in 1813 they moved to Rydal Mount, where William and Mary stayed until their deaths in 1850 and 1859. Whilst at Rydal Mount William became Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland, and had an office in Church St Ambleside. In 1820 he published his ‘Guide through the District of the Lakes’. In 1842 he became the Poet Laureate, and resigned his office as Stamp Distributor. William married Mary quite late in his life. Something which I read about him, which you don’t read on all sites, is that he went to France in 1791 and met Annette Vallon. She gave him French lessons, for free, and they fell in love and she got pregnant. She had a girl and her name was Caroline. William wanted to return to support her with the child, but because of the war between England and France, he couldn’t return. I read this piece of info in the book…”Among the Lakes and fells” by John Kahn.

Follow the link to read more about him.  http://www.wordsworth.org.uk/history/

We’ve been away for the past week. We went to the Western part of the Lake District… had a few rainy days, so spent some of the days to visit some very exciting places. Only when we arrived at Mockerkin, the owners of our cottage informed us about Wordsworth’s house in Cockermouth and Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top-farm in Hawkshead and we were left with hundreds of leaflets, maps and books about surrounding areas. I’ve got zillions of wonderful pictures to sort out, but for a start, thought to post this poem which William Wordsworth wrote. I had the wonderful opportunity to read his sister, Dorothy’s Lakeland Journal, due to the weather! And, once again, due to the weather… I’ve translated William’s poem in Afrikaans, but I’ve also changed it a little bit, so it’s not exactly the same…and I call my poem…the Dance of the Daffodils! For now, you have to be satisfied with this poem, as I’ve got some unpacking to do…and tomorrow is a day with friends, so not much time for blogging, but I’ll try my best to upload a few more about the visit to William’s house in Cockermouth. Sadly, we didn’t visit Dove’s cottage in Grasmere,  where he spent his later years, as our time was a bit limited when we went to Hill Top farm. If you visit Hill Top farm, you get a timed ticket, which means you buy the ticket and can only enter the time your ticket tells you. In this way the National Trust try to control the number of visitors as the house is quite small and not many people at any one time can move around the house comfortably. Also, it’s a way to preserve to property, but more about Hill Top farm in another entry later this week!

 I’ve got so much to share and so many pictures to go through, but first things first…follow the link I’ve given to read a bit more. Please click on images for a larger view.

Wordsworth Museum

William Wordsworth’s sister, Dorothy, kept this diary…a diary which is worth reading! There is also the “Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals” to be read. I will definitely try and get hold of the “Grasmere”-diary  to read too.

Plaque inscription

Front garden  as seen through a window from the inside of the house

Rear garden through a window in Wordsworth’s house

Hand water pump!

Rear garden and house as seen from the garden

Bench in rear garden

Foot bridge behind Wordsworth house across River Derwent

River Derwent… River Cocker and River Derwent meet in Cockermouth

Dove cottage in Grasmere…which we didn’t visit

Image: and read more…



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