55a. Robert Bloomfield to Thomas Hill, 11 September 1801


55a. Robert Bloomfield to Thomas Hill, 11 September 1801* 

City Road , Sep 11th 1801

Dear Sir

Probably you may have heard of the great loss sustained by your correspondent, and my friend, at Troston—Mrs Lofft died on Tuesday morning  [1]  just after a painfull illness.

In a letter to me by Mr Lofft on the preceeding Sunday is this passage; which I thus fully state to you to discharge myself of as much of the request as appears for me to fulfill.—

‘I mentioned some months back that there was a young man of the name of Hole of whose abilities as a young engraver on wood I had seen some promising specimens, and who would be soon out of his apprenticeship to Mr Bewick. The apprenticeship will expire this month. His name is Henry Hole,  [2]  a sister of mine was his Godmother. I wish him to come to Town if he could have a safe and beneficial introduction to business. Will you mention this to Mr Hill, Mr Park, and others of our friends. I think he seems likely to be a modest, sober, and industrious youth, and that he has shown both ingenuity and application. Any reference that might be thought nessisary would, of course be made to Mr Bewick in case there should be an opening where there is so much employment for this art.’

Mr Lofft did not by his letter of Sunday, seem to think Mrs L in more danger than for some time before, but I yesterday had the statement from his own hand, of her death.—

If the Poetical department of the Mirror is not overstocked perhaps the following lines would not disgrace it.  [3]  If my blemishes appear to you, be so kind as return it to me that I may insert it in the pending Vollon, where Mr Lofft expects to see it, as it has his approbation already.


For A Highland Drover, returning from England.

By Robert Bloomfield, author of the Farmer’s Boy.

Now fare-thee-well England, no further I’ll roam,
But follow my shadow that points the way home;
Your gray southern shores shall not tempt me to stay,
For my Maggy’s at home, and my children at play;
Tis this makes my Bonnet set light on my brow,
Gives my sorrows their strength, and my bosom its glow.

Farewell Mountaineers! My companions adieu!.
Soon, many long miles when I’m severed from you,
I shall miss your white Horns on the brink of the Bourne,
And o’er the rough Heaths where you’ll never return;
But in brave English pastures you cannot complain,
While your drover speeds back to his Maggy again.

O Tweed! gentle Tweed, as I pass your green vales,
More than life, more than love, my tired spirit inhales;
There, Scotland, my darling lies full in my view,
With her barefooted Lasses and Mountains so blue;
To the Mountains away! My heart bounds like the Hind;
For home is so sweet, and my Maggy so kind.

As day after day I still follow my course,
And in fancy trace back every Stream to its source,
Hope cheers me up Hills, where the road lies before
O’er Hills just as high, and o’er tracks of wild Moor;
The keen polar Star nightly rising to view;
But Maggy’s my Star, just as steady and true.

O Ghosts of my Fathers! O Heroes, look down;
Fix my wandering thoughts on your deeds of renown,
For the glory of Scotland reigns warm in my breast,
And fortitude grows both from toil and from rest;
May your deeds and your worth be for ever in view,
And may Maggy bear sons not unworthy of you.

Love, why do you urge me, so weary and poor?
I cannot step faster, I cannot do more;
I’ve pas’d silver Tweed; e’en the Tay flows behind:
Yet fatigue I’ll disdain;--my reward I shall find;
Thou sweet smile of innocence, thou art my prize,
And the joy that will sparkle in Maggy’s blue eyes

She’ll watch to the southward; . . . perhaps she will sigh,
That the way is so long, and the Mountains so high;
Perhaps some huge Rock in the dusk she may see,
And will say in her fondness, ‘that surely is he.’!
Good Wife you’re deceiv’d; I’m still far from my home;
Go, sleep, my dear Maggy; tomorrow I’ll come.

Your Obedien Servt

Robert Bloomfield.

Address:Thos Hill Esq
No. 7
Henrietta St Covent Garden

* Tipped in to a copy of George Gordon, Lord Byron, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers: A Satire, vol. II. Illustrated, Collected and Arranged by Arnold Wood. New York: Charles B. Richardson, 1865. This book is located at the James Smith Noel Collection, Louisiana State University in Shreveport. BACK

[1] Anne Lofft, née Emlyn, married to Capel Lofft since 1778, died on 9 September. Her widower married again in spring 1802. BACK

[2] Henry Hole (1782-1852): born in Newcastle, Hole was apprenticed to Bewick from 24 March 1794 until autumn 1801. Hole engraved cuts for the 1808 edition of Felicia Dorothea Browne (later Mrs Hemans), Poems. He retired from the profession on inheriting a landed estate in Derbyshire. BACK

[3] Bloomfield’s ‘Song for a Highland Drover’ was published in The Monthly Mirror, which Hill edited, in 12 (September 1801), 197–98. It was collected in Rural Tales. BACK