Poetry is honey for the soul (13) – Camille

Poetry is honey for the soul

Today is Sunday and I have chosen the poem of the day.

It was mentioned once in a blog,

I looked for it and found it.

It is, for me, as a foreigner, something very English,

not British, English.

Something I would find with Anthony Trollope, with John Donne,

with John Keats, with Mrs Gaskell, with Barbara Pym.

Something Victorian and Edwardian,

a nostalgia for a past Empire today.

But was it ever idyllic and pastoral,

or is it a nostalgia for something dreamt that never was?

We have the same “faux souvenirs” in France…


by: A.T. Quiller-Couch

PASTORAL heart of England! like a psalm

Of green days telling with a quiet beat–

O wave into the sunset flowing calm!

O tirèd lark descending on the wheat!

Lies it all peace beyond the western fold

Where now the lingering shepherd sees his star

Rise upon Malvern? Paints an Age of Gold

Yon cloud with prophecies of linkèd ease–

Lulling this Land, with hills drawn up like knees,

To drowse beside her implements of war?

Man shall outlast his battles. They have swept

Avon from Naseby Field to Savern Ham;

And Evesham’s dedicated stones have stepp’d

Down to the dust with Montfort’s oriflamme.

Nor the red tear nor the reflected tower

Abides; but yet these elegant grooves remain,

Worn in the sandstone parapet hour by hour

By labouring bargemen where they shifted ropes;

E’en so shall men turn back from violent hopes

To Adam’s cheer, and toil with spade again.

Ay, and his mother Nature, to whose lap

Like a repentant child at length he hies,

Nor in the whirlwind or the thunder-clap

Proclaims her more tremendous mysteries:

But when in winter’s grave, bereft of light,

With still, small voice divinelier whispering

–Lifting the green head of the aconite,

Feeding with sap of hope the hazel-shoot–

She feels God’s finger active at the root,

Turns in her sleep, and murmurs of the Spring.





4 thoughts on “Poetry is honey for the soul (13) – Camille

  1. Mmm. I remember reading a number of poems in this vein when I was a child. I came across them in old anthologies. I was never quite sure what to make of them! Definitely late Victorian/Edwardian, though I suspect my grandparents (born in the reign of Victoria, but not English) would have thought them strange. A part, I suspect, of the myth of Empire.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. If I dared I would write a post about the regrets of the lost Empire and its consequences today. But I don’t want to hurt my British friends. The solution might be a parallel between what happened in France and what happened in the UK (and more especially in England). That might be less brutal. The referendum pro or against the EU has exacerbated the feelings right now in the UK. Not a very clever unifying political manoeuvre.

      Liked by 1 person

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