Tag Archives: Poet

Leighton Bromswold Huntingdonshire

The House That George Built

St Mary’s Church, Leighton Bromswold, Huntingdonshire.

St Mary’s Church in Leighton Bromswold Huntingdonshire, in 1626 it was in a deplorable state of decay when the poet George Herbert was inducted as Prebend.

He made it his mission to raise the funds and restore the church along with the help of his friend Nicholas Ferrar and his brother John of Little Gidding.

THE CROSS.
By George Herbert

What is this strange and uncouth thing?
To make me sigh, and seek, and faint, and die,
Until I had some place, where I might sing,
And serve thee; and not only I,
But all my wealth, and family might combine
To set thy honour up, as our design.

And then when after much delay,
Much wrestling, many a combat, this dear end,
So much desir’d, is giv’n, to take away
My power to serve thee; to unbend
All my abilities, my designs confound,
And lay my threat’nings bleeding on the ground.

One ague dwelleth in my bones,
Another in my soul (the memory
What I would do for thee, if once my groans
Could be allow’d for harmony):
I am in all a weak disabled thing,
Save in the sight thereof, where strength doth sting.

Besides, things sort not to my will,
Ev’n when my will doth study thy renown:
Thou turnest th’ edge of all things on me still,
Taking me up to throw me down:
So that, ev’n when my hopes seem to be sped,
I am to grief alive, to them as dead.

To have my aim, and yet to be
Farther from it than when I bent my bow;
To make my hopes my torture, and the fee
Of all my woes another woe,
Is in the midst of delicates to need,
And ev’n in Paradise to be a weed.

Ah my dear Father, ease my smart!
These contrarieties crush me: these cross actions
Do wind a rope about, and cut my heart:
And yet since these thy contradictions
Are properly a cross felt by thy Son,
With but four words, my words, Thy will be done.

We have visited Leighton Bromswold in Huntingdonshire on many occasions stopping to look around the outside of The Church of St Mary’s as we have never found it open.

Well today was different, as we went to drive past on our way to who knows where, to our pleasant surprise there was a notice announcing that the church was open, hastily parking the car we were able to fulfil a long time ambition and were not in the least disappointed.

St Mary's Church, Leighton Bromswold, Huntingdonshire.

The Inside of St Mary’s Church, Leighton Bromswold, Huntingdonshire.

With its Pulpit and Reading Desk of the same size

St Mary's Church, Leighton Bromswold, Huntingdonshire.

St Mary the Virgin Church, Leighton Bromswold, Huntingdonshire.

 Its tower dominating the countryside.

St Mary's Church, Leighton Bromswold, Huntingdonshire

St Mary’s Church, Leighton Bromswold, Huntingdonshire

 


 

Keyston

The Church of St John the Baptist Keyston is a challenge,

  1. Getting there without setting tyre rubber on the A14.
  2. Taking a photograph that does the building justice.

Keyston lies on the very westerly edge of the county of Cambridgeshire or Huntingdonshire, if your preference is for the historic rather than the modern and are prepared to defy the 1974  Local Government edict.

It sits to the east of the town of Thrapston in Northamptonshire, which boasts connections with George Washington’s family, the first president of the United States of America  and west of Huntingdon the birth place of Oliver Cromwell.  In the North lies the village of Titchmarsh with all its associations  with the poet John Dryden and is with easy reach if you are prepared take your life in your hands and cross the A14 which carries its traffic incessantly between Felixstowe, the Midlands and beyond.

Our visit to Keyston in Huntingdonshire is purely of a metaphysical inspiration as John Donne, lawyer, renowned preacher, poet and soon to be become Dean of St Pauls Cathedral was awarded the living of Keyston  in the early part of 1616.  He held this post until 1621  when he resigned it shortly before he was appointed Dean of St Pauls.

The Church of St John the Baptist Keyston

The Church of St John the Baptist, Keyston, Huntingdonshire

“Thou hast set up many candlesticks, and kindled many lamps in me; but I have either blown them out, or carried them to guide me in forbidden ways.”

John Donne


Aldwincle Northamptonshire Revisited

In a time gone by there were two Aldwincle Parishes, Aldwincle St Peters and Aldwincle All Saints they were joined together in November 1879.

Aldwincle Village Sign

Aldwincle Village Sign Northamptonshire

To all appearances it is St Peters that is now the center of village life as All Saints sits a world apart opposte Dryden house on the way to Thorpe Waterville across  Harper’s Brook and over the Nene river by Brancey Bridge.

All Saints Church Aldwincle Northamptonshire

John Dryden poet, playwright and critic was born in the house that sits in the shadow of church on the 9 August 1631. Dryden House Aldwincle Northamptonshire

Dryden House Aldwincle Northamptonshire

Son of Erasmas Dryden and Mary Pickering of Titchmarsh he was Christened in the Church of All Saints where his grandfather Henry Pickering was Rector were there is a tablet commemorating the event.

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Church Commemorative Tablet

All Saints Church is now in the care of The Church Conservation Trust as it is no longer needed for regular worship but remains as consecrated buildings and is of historical importance, it is a delight to walk round and has always been open when ever we have visited.

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All Saints Church Striking Interior

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All Saints Church Stained Glass Window

Samuel Johnson summed up the general attitude to John Dryden with his remark that

 “the veneration with which his name is pronounced by every cultivator of English literature,

 is paid to him as he refined the language, improved the sentiments,

and tuned the numbers of English poetry.”

and tuned the numbers of English poetry.”

And T. S. Eliot wrote that he was

‘the ancestor of nearly all that is best in the poetry of the eighteenth century’,

and that ‘we cannot fully enjoy or rightly estimate a hundred years of English poetry

unless we fully enjoy Dryden.’


The Crest of A Scottish Clan, A Peel of Bells, Lord Peter Winsey and The Art of Cation Writting.

Walking in the Cambridgeshire fens along the Ouse Washes between The Bedford Rivers is always a comfort to a weary soul and evocative of The Nine Taylors by Dorothy L Sayers especially when the washes are in full flood.

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With camera in hand it is always tempting to capture the wide open space, the large sky, reflections in the flood plain or Fortrey’s pumping station standing on Engine Bank against a cloudy sky.

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There are endless possibilities in the detail of the landscape like the bee seeking substance from the thistle on the bank of the hundred foot drain. The problem arises when trying to find a caption appropriate for the composition.

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Now as mentioned this is the land where Lord Peter Wimsey applies his analytic mind to discovering the location of the Wilbraham emeralds and the murderer of the butler Deacon but try as I may I can find no correlation to the thistle and the bee but if we take a leaf out of Lord Peter’s book and apply some meticulous reasoning, like the landscape itself there are endless possibilities.

Shakespeare’s Midsommer Nights Dream could be applied where Bottom states

Mounsieur Cobweb, good mounsieur, get you your

weapons in your hand, and kill me a red-hipped

humble-bee on the top of a thistle; and, good

mounsieur, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret

yourself too much in the action, mounsieur; and,

good mounsieur, have a care the honey-bag break not;

I would be loath to have you overflown with a

honey-bag, signior. Where’s Mounsieur Mustardseed?

or we could turn to the poet Ted Hughes for The Thistle

Against the rubber tongues of cows and the hoeing hands of men

Thistles spike the summer air

And crackle open under a blue-black pressure.

Not to mention Sylvia Plath for the bee or perhaps Emily Dickinson

and her poem entitled There is a Flower that Bees Prefer

There is a flower that Bees prefer —

And Butterflies — desire —

To gain the Purple Democrat

The Humming Bird — aspire —

And Whatsoever Insect pass —

A Honey bear away

Proportioned to his several dearth

And her — capacity —

Her face be rounder than the Moon

And ruddier than the Gown

Or Orchis in the Pasture —

Or Rhododendron — worn —

We could even use a quote or two from A A Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh due to his love of honey and his friend Eeyore’s passion for thistles.

If we were looking for a more modern example then A Single Thistle by Raymond A. Foss could be appropriate but as he reminds us, if we need reminding that the thistle is the flower of Scotland

therefore it has to be the motto and the crest of The Clan Fergusson as this uses both the bee and the thistle and also appeals to my Scottish roots.

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Title: dulcius ex asperis

Caption: A Bee on a Thistle

The crest of The Clan Fergusson

Their Motto: dulcius ex asperis (sweeter after difficulties).

Found living on The Ouse Washes, The Fens, Mepal, Cambridgeshire


Edwin Muir. Swaffham Prior, Cambridgeshire.

Born in Orkney in 1887.

Socialist, Critic, Contributor to The New Age Magazine, Translator, one of Scotland’s best poets and perhaps a counter balance to Hugh MacDiarmid vision of Scotland and poetic language?

Laid to rest in Swaffham Prior churchyard Cambridgeshire along with his beloved wife Willa Anderson who was an author in her own right.

Edwin Muir's Cottage Swaffham Prior

In 1919 he married Willa Anderson and said not long after that “my marriage was the most fortunate event in my life”. They collaborated on English translations of such writers as Franz Kafka, Gerhart Hauptmann, Sholem Asch, Heinrich Mann, and Hermann Broch.

Ewin Muir' Last Resting Place

We were a tribe, a family, a people.

Wallace and Bruce guard now a painted field,

And all may read the folio of our fable,

Peruse the sword, the sceptre and the shield.

A simple sky roofed in that rustic day,

The busy corn-fields and the haunted holms,

The green road winding up the ferny brae.

But Knox and Melville clapped their preaching palms

And bundled all the harvesters away,

Hoodicrow Peden in the blighted corn

Hacked with his rusty beak the starving haulms.

Out of that desolation we were born.

Edwin Muir From Scotland 1941.

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Aldwincle Northamptonshire

 

John Dryden poet, playwright, critic was born in Aldwincle Northamptonshire in 9 August 1631 and Christened in the Church of All Saints where his grandfather was Rector.

The house in which he was born still stand in the shadow of All Saints Church.

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All Saints Church is now in the care of The Church Conservation Trust as it is no longer needed for regular worship but remains as consecrated buildings and is of historical importance.

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What weight of ancient witness can prevail,

If private reason hold the public scale?

But gracious God, how well does thou provide

For erring judgements an unerring guide!

Thy throne is darkness in the abyss of light,

A blaze of glory that forbids the sight.

O teach me to believe thee thus concealed,

And search no further than thyself revealed;

But her alone for my director take,

Whom thou hast promised never to forsake!

John Dryden From Confessio Fidei


 

In Memory of Violet May, Order and Method and a Lesser Known Poet.

I have a compulsion to rearrange our books, I would not go as far as to say it was a disorder but it is a desire to bring some sort of order to what has all the appearance of chaos.

The dilemma I have is do I catalogue them in alphabetical order, by author or should Dorothy L Sayers creation Lord Peter Wimsey sit dust jacket to dust jacket next to Agatha Christie’s Poirot.

Now there is a thought I could follow the great Belgian detective’s principles and arrange them in order of size.

If this all seems rather indecisive I am not completely without resolve in that I have separated the poets, not on the top shelve as some would wish, on the understanding that poetry is one of the highest forms of art but on a dedicated shelve next to the fire-place, ideal for the likes of Dante’s Inferno.

There are always some surprises in familiar stanzas by Wordsworth, Keats or Clare and even more in less familiar  as Auden, Spender or Smith.

As I placed each with the care owing on its rightful shelve position I came across a newspaper cutting from the early nineteen eighties nestled between Dryden and Eliot. It was written in nineteen seventy nine in memory of a lovely lady who was called to meet her maker in May of that year and was written by the author of these ramblings.

MAY TWENTY FITHH
I looked at you today,
And cursed the evil pen
That wrltes with twisted hand
The lines of pain upon your face.
Sleep on, druggrd sleep.
I know you think of those
Even through your pain,
That never had the time to share
From their seasonal warmth.
Sleep on.
But merciful is the Lord,
The flame you carried high,
Was from His lamp.
Sleep on today,
Tomorrow we will meet,
Sleep on today.
MAY THIRTIETH

J. P. Miller