Book 1


The Banks of Wye; A Poem. In Four Books, 1811, 1813, 1823.  [1] 

Frontispiece and Title Page




1.        IN the summer of 1807, a party of my good friends in Gloucestershire proposed to themselves a short excursion down the Wye, and through part of South Wales.

2.        While this plan was in agitation, the lines which I had composed on 'Shooter's Hill,' during ill health, and inserted in my last volume, obtained their particular attention. [2]  A spirit of prediction, as well as sorrow, is there indulged; and it was now in the power of this happy party to falsify such predictions, and to render a pleasure to the writer of no uncommon [3]  kind. An invitation to accompany them was the consequence; and the following Journal is the result of that invitation.

3.        Should the reader, from being a resident, or frequent visitor, be well acquainted with the route, and able to discover inaccuracies in distances, succession of objects, or local particulars, he is requested to recollect, that the party was but ten days; a period much too short for correct and laborious description, but quite sufficient for all the powers of poetry which I feel capable of exerting. The whole exhibits the language and feelings of man who had never before seen a mountainous country; and of this is it is highly necessary that the reader should be apprized.

4.        A Swiss, or perhaps a Scottish Highlander, may smile at supposed or real exaggerations; but they will be excellent critics, when they call to mind that they themselves judge, in these cases, as I do, by comparison.

5.        Perhaps it may be said, that because much of public approbation has fallen to my lot, it was unwise to venture again. I confess that the journey left such powerful, such unconquerable impressions on my mind, that embodying my thoughts in rhyme became a matter almost of necessity. To the parties concerned I know it will be an acceptable little volume: to whom, and to the public, it is submitted with due respect.


City Road, London,
June 30, 1811.




The Vale of Uley.––Forest of Dean.––Ross.––Wilton Castle.––Goodrich Castle.––Courtfield, Welch Bicknor, Coldwell.––Gleaner's Song.––Coldwell Rocks.––Symmon's Yat.––Great Doward.––New Wier.––Arthur's Hall. [5]  ––Martin's Well.––The Coracle.––Arrival at Monmouth.

'ROUSE from thy slumber, pleasure [6]  calls, arise,
Quit thy half-rural bower, awhile [7]  despise
The thraldom that consumes thee. We who dwell
Far from thy land of smoke, [8]  advise thee well.
Here Nature's bounteous hand around shall fling,
Scenes that thy Muse hath never dar'd [9] to sing.
When sickness weigh'd thee down, and strength declin'd; [10] 
When dread eternity absorb'd thy mind,
Flow'd the predicting verse, by gloom o'erspread,
That 'Cambrian mountains' thou should'st never tread,
That 'time-worn cliff and classic stream to see,'
Was wealth's prerogative, despair for thee.
Come to the proof; with us the breeze inhale,
Renounce despair, and come to Severn's vale;
And where the COTSWOLD HILLS are stretch'd along,
Seek our green dell, as yet unknown to song:
Start hence with us, and trace, with raptur'd [11]  eye,
The wild meanderings of the beauteous WYE;
Thy ten days leisure ten days joy shall prove,
And rock and stream breathe amity and love.'
Such was the call; with instant ardour hail'd,
The siren Pleasure caroll'd and prevail'd;
Soon the deep dell appear'd, and the clear brow
Of ULEY BURY [12]  smiled o'er all below,
Mansion, and flock, [13]  and circling woods that hung
Round the sweet pastures where the sky-lark sung.
O for the fancy, vigorous and sublime,
Chaste as the theme, to triumph over time!
Bright as the rising day, and firm as truth,
To speak new transports to the lowland youth
That bosoms still might throb, and still adore,
When his who strives to charm them beats no more!

ONE August morn, with spirits high,
Sound health, bright hopes, and cloudless sky,
A cheerful group their farewell bade
To DURSLEY tower, to ULEY'S shade;
And where bold STINCHCOMB'S [14]  greenwood side
Heaves in the van of highland pride,
Scour'd the broad vale of Severn; there [15] 
The foes of verse shall never dare
Genius to scorn, or bound its power, [16] 
There blood-stain'd BERKELEY'S turrets low'r,
A name that cannot pass away,
Till time forgets 'the Bard' of GRAY. [17] 
Quitting fair Glo'ster's northern road,
To gain the pass of FRAMELODE, [18] 
Before us DEAN'S black forest spread,
And MAY HILL, with his tufted head,
Beyond the ebbing tide appear'd;
And Cambria's distant mountains rear'd 50
Their dark blue summits far away;
And SEVERN, 'midst the burning day,
Curv'd [19]  his bright line, and bore along
The mingled Avon, pride of song. [20] 
The trembling steeds soon ferry'd o'er,
Neigh'd loud upon the forest shore;
Domains that once, at early morn,
Rang to the hunter's bugle horn,
When barons proud would bound away;
And even kings would hail the day,
And swell with pomp more glorious shows,
Than ant-hill [21]  population knows.  [22] 
Here [23]  crested chiefs their bright-arm'd train
Of javelin'd horsemen rous'd amain,
And chasing wide the wolf or boar,
Bade the deep woodland valleys roar.

Harmless we past, and unassail'd,
Nor once at roads or turnpikes rail'd: [24] 
Through depths of shade oft sun-beams broke,
Midst noble FLAXLEY'S bow'rs of oak; [25] 
And many a cottage, trim and gay,
Whisper'd delight through all the way;
On hills exposed, in dells unseen,
To patriarchal MITCHEL DEAN.
Rose-cheek'd Pomona [26]  there was seen, [27] 
And [28] Ceres [29]  edged her [30]  fields between,
And on each hill-top, mounted high,
Her sickle wav'd [31]  in extasy;
Till ROSS, thy charms all hearts confess'd,
Thy peaceful walks, thy hours of rest
And contemplation. Here the mind,
With all its luggage left behind, [32] 
Dame Affectation's leaden wares, [33] 
Spleen, envy, pride, life's thousand cares,
Feels all its dormant fires revive,
And sees 'the Man of Ross' alive;
And hears the Twick'nham Bard [34]  again
To KYRL'S [35]  high virtues lift his strain;
Whose own hand cloth'd [36]  this far-fam'd [37]  hill
With rev'rend elms, that shade us still;
Whose mem'ry shall survive the day, [38] 
When elms and empires feel decay.
KYRL [39]  die, by BARD ennobled? Never: [40] 
'The Man of Ross' [41]  shall live for ever;
Ross, that exalts its spire on high,
Above the flow'ry-margin'd WYE, [42] 
Scene of the morrow's joy, that prest
Its unseen beauties on our rest
In dreams; but who of dreams would tell,
Where truth sustains the song so well? [43] 
The morrow came, and Beauty's eye
Ne'er beam'd upon a lovelier sky;
Imagination instant brought,
And dash'd [44]  amidst the train of thought,
Tints of the bow. The boatman stript;
Glee at the helm exulting tript,
And waved her flower-encircled wand,
'Away, away, to Fairy Land.'
Light dipt the oars; but who can name
The various objects dear to fame,
That changing, doubting [45]  wild, and strong,
Demand the noblest powers of song?
Then, O forgive the vagrant Muse,
Ye who the sweets of Nature choose; [46] 
And thou [47]  whom destiny hast [48]  tied 115
To this romantic river's side,
Down gazing from each close retreat,
On boats that glide beneath thy feet,
Forgive the stranger's meagre line,
That seems to slight that spot of thine;
For he, alas! could only glean
The changeful outlines of the scene;
A momentary bliss; and here
Links memory's power with rapture's tear.

WHO curb'd the barons' kingly power? [49] 
Let hist'ry tell that fateful hour
At home, when surly winds shall roar,
And prudence shut the study door.
DE WILTON'S here of mighty name,
The whelming flood, the summer stream,
Mark'd from their towers.––The fabric falls,
The rubbish of their splendid halls
Time in his march hath scatter'd wide,
And blank oblivion strives to hide. [50] 
Awhile [51]  the grazing herd was seen,
And trembling willow's silver green,
Till the fantastic current stood
In line direct for PENCRAIG WOOD;
Whose bold green summit welcome bade,
Then rear'd behind his nodding shade.
Here, as the light boat skimm'd along,
The clarionet, and chosen song,
That mellow, wild, Eolian lay,
'Sweet in the Woodlands,' [52]  roll'd away [53] 
In [54]  echoes down the stream, that bore
Each dying close to every shore,
And forward Cape [55] , and woody range,
That form the never-ceasing change,
To him who floating, void of care,
Twirls with the stream, he knows not where; [56] 
Till bold, impressive, and sublime,
Gleam'd all that's left by storms and time
Of GOODRICH TOWERS. The mould'ring pile
Tells noble truths,––but dies the while; [57] 
O'er the steep path, through brake and brier,
His batter'd turrets still aspire,
In rude magnificence. 'Twas here
LANCASTRIAN HENRY spread his cheer,
When came the news that HAL was born,
And MONMOUTH hail'd th' auspicious morn; [58] 
A boy in sports, a prince in war,
Wisdom and valour crown'd his car;
Of France the terror, England's glory,
As Stratford's bard has told the story.
No butler's proxies snore supine,
Where the old monarch kept his wine;
No Welsh ox roasting, horns and all,
Adorns his throng'd and laughing hall;
But where he pray'd, and told his beads,
A thriving ash luxuriant spreads.
No wheels by piecemeal brought the pile;
No barks embowel'd [59]  Portland Isle; [60] 
Dig, cried experience, dig away,
Bring the firm quarry into day;
The excavation still shall save
Those ramparts which its entrails gave.
'Here kings [61]  shall dwell,' the builders cried, [62] 
'Here England's foes shall low'r [63]  their pride;
Hither [64]  shall suppliant nobles come,
And [65]  this [66]  be England's royal [67]  home.'
Vain hope! for on the Gwentian [68]  shore [69] 
The regal banner streams no more!
Nettles, and vilest weeds that grow,
To mock poor grandeur's head laid low,
Creep round the turrets valour rais'd [70] ,
And flaunt where youth and beauty gaz'd [71] .
Here fain would strangers loiter long,
And muse as Fancy's woof grows strong;
Yet cold the heart that could complain,
Where POLLETT [72]  struck his oars again;
For lovely as the sleeping child,
The stream glides on sublimely wild,
In perfect beauty, perfect ease; [73] 
The [74]  awning trembled in the breeze,
And scarcely trembled, as we stood
The fair domains of COURTFIELD [75]  made
A paradise of mingled shade
Round BICKNOR'S tiny church, that cowers
Beneath his host of woodland bowers.
But who the charm of words shall fling, [76] 
To brighten the unconscious eye,
And wake the soul to extasy?
Noon scorch'd the fields; the boat lay to;
The dripping oars had nought to do,
Where round us rose a scene that might
Enchant an idiot––glorious sight!
Here, in one gay according mind,
Upon the sparkling stream we din'd [77] ;
As shepherds free on mountain heath,
Free as the fish that watch'd beneath
For falling crumbs, [78]  where cooling lay
The wine that cheer'd us on our way.
Th' unruffled bosom of the stream, [79] 
Gave every tint and every gleam;
Gave shadowy rocks, and clear blue sky,
And double clouds of various dye;
Gave dark green woods, or russet brown,
And pendent corn-fields, upside down.
A troop of gleaners chang'd [80]  their shade,
And 'twas a change by music made;
For slowly to the brink they drew,
To mark our joy, and share it too.
How oft, in childhood's flow'ry days,
I've heard the wild impassion'd lays
Of such a group, lays strange and new,
And thought, was ever song so true? [81] 
When from the hazel's cool retreat
They watch'd the summer's trembling heat;
And through the boughs rude urchins play'd,
Where matrons, round the laughing maid,
Prest the long grass beneath! And here
They doubtless shar'd [82]  an equal cheer;
Enjoy'd the feast with equal glee,
And rais'd [83]  the song of revelry:
Yet half abash'd, reserv'd, [84]  and shy,
Watch'd till the strangers glided by.

Gleaner's Song.
DEAR ELLEN, your tales are all plenteously stor'd, [85] 
With the joys of some bride, and the wealth of her lord:
Of her chariots and dresses,
And worldly caresses,
And servants that fly when she's waited upon:
But what can she boast if she weds unbelov'd? [86] 
Can she e'er feel the joy that one morning I prov'd, [87] 
When I put on my new-gown and waited for John?

These fields, my dear Ellen, I knew them of yore,
Yet to me they ne'er look'd so enchanting before;
The distant bells ringing,
The birds round us singing, 250
For pleasure is pure when affection is won:
They told me the troubles and cares of a wife;
But I lov'd [88]  him; and that was the pride of my life,
When I put on my new-gown and waited for John.

He shouted and ran, as he leapt from the stile; 255
And what in my bosom was passing the while?
For love knows the blessing
Of ardent caressing,
When virtue inspires us, and doubts are all gone.
The sunshine of Fortune you say is divine; 260
True love and the sunshine of Nature were mine,
When I put on my new-gown and waited for John.

Never could spot be suited less
To bear memorials of distress;
None, cries the sage, more fit is found,
They strike at once a double wound;
Humiliation bids you sigh,
And think of immortality. [89] 
Close on the bank, and half o'ergrown,
Beneath a dark wood's sombrous frown,
A monumental stone appears, [90] 
Of one who [91]  in his blooming years,
While bathing spurn'd the grassy shore,
And sunk, midst [92]  friends, to rise no more; [93] 
By parents witness'd.––Hark! their shrieks!
The dreadful language horror speaks!
But why in verse attempt to tell
That tale the stone records so well? [94] 

Nothing could damp th' awaken'd joy,
Not e'en thy fate, ingenuous boy;
The great, the grand of Nature strove,
To lift our hearts to life and love.
HAIL! COLDWELL ROCKS; frown, frown away;
Thrust from your woods your shafts of grey:
Fall not, to crush our mortal pride,
Or stop the stream on which we glide.
Our lives are short, our joys are few; [95] 
But, giants, what is time to you?
Ye who erect, in many a mass,
Rise from the scarcely dimpled glass, 290
That with distinct [96]  and mellow glow, [97] 
Reflects your monstrous forms below;
Or in clear shoals, in breeze or sun,
Shake [98]  all your shadows into one;
Boast ye o'er man in proud disdain,
An everlasting silent reign? [99] 
Bear ye your heads so high in scorn
Of names [100]  that puny man hath borne?
Would that the Cambrian bards had here [101] 
Their names carved deep, so deep, so clear, [102] 
That such as gaily wind along
Might shout and cheer them with a song;
Might rush on wings of bliss away,
Through Fancy's boundless blaze of day! [103] 
Not nameless quite ye lift your brows,
For each the navigator knows;
Not by King Arthur, or his knights,
Bard fam'd [104]  in lays, or chief in fights;
But former tourists, just as free,
(Tho' [105]  surely not so blest as we,) [106] 
Mark'd towering BEARCROFT'S ivy crown,
And grey VANSITTART'S [107]  waving gown; [108] 
And who's that giant by his side?
'SERGEANT ADAIR,' the boatman cried.
Strange it seem, [109]  however true,
That here, [110]  where law has nought to do,
Where rules and bonds are set aside,
By wood, by rock, by stream defy'd; [111] 
That here, [112]  where nature seems at strife
With all that tells of busy life,
Man should by names be carried still, [113] 
To Babylon against his will.
But how shall memory rehearse,
Or dictate the untoward verse
That truth demands? Could he refuse
Thy unsought honours, darling Muse,
He who in idle, happy trim, [114] 
Rode just where friends would carry him? [115] 
Truth, I obey. [116] ––The generous band, [117] 
That spread his board and grasp'd his hand,
In native mirth, as here they came,
Gave a bluff rock his humble name:
A yew-tree clasps its rugged base;
The boatman knows its reverend face;
With his [118] memory and his fee,
Rests the result that time shall see.
Yet e'en if [119]  time shall sweep away
The fragile whimsies of a day;
Or future travellers rest the oar,
To hear the mingled echoes roar; [120] 
A stranger's triumph––he will feel [121] 
A joy that death alone can steal.
And should he cold indifference feign,
And treat such honours with disdain,
Pretending pride shall not deceive him,
Good people all, pray don't believe him;
In such a spot to leave a name,
At least is no opprobrious fame;
This rock perhaps uprear'd his brow,
Ere human blood began to flow.
And let not wandering strangers fear
That WYE is ended there or here; [122] 
Though foliage close, though hills may seem
To bar all access to a stream, [123] 
Some airy height he climbs amain,
And finds the silver eel again.
No fears we form'd, no labours counted,
Yet SYMMON'S YAT must be surmounted;
A tower of rock [124]  that seems to cry,
'Go round about me, neighbour WYE.' [125] 
On went the boat, and up the steep
Her straggling crew began to creep,
To gain the ridge, enjoy the view,
Where the fresh gales of summer blew.
The gleaming WYE, that circles round
Her four-mile course, again is found;
And, crouching to the conqueror's pride,
Bathes his huge cliffs on either side;
Seen at one glance, when from his brow
The eye surveys twin gulphs below.
Whence comes thy name? What Symon he,
Who gain'd a monument in thee?
Perhaps a wild-wood hunter, born [126] 
Peril, and toil, and death to scorn; [127] 
Or warrior, with his powerful lance,
Who scaled the cliff to gain a glance; [128] 
Or shepherd lad, [129]  or humble swain,
Who sought for pasture here in vain;
Or venerable bard, who strove
To tune his harp to themes of love;
Or with a poet's ardent flame
Sung to the winds his country's fame?
Westward GREAT DOWARD, stretching wide,
Upheaves his iron-bowel'd [130]  side;
And by his everlasting mound, [131] 
Prescribes th' imprison'd river's bound,
And strikes the eye with mountain force:
But stranger [132]  mark thy rugged course
From crag to crag, unwilling, slow,
To NEW WEIR forge [133]  that smokes below.
Here rush'd the keel like lightning by:
The helmsman watch'd with anxious eye;
And oars alternate touch'd the brim,
To keep the flying boat in trim.

Forward quick changing, changing still,
Again rose cliff, and wood, and hill,
Where mingling foliage seem'd to strive
With dark-brown saplings, flay'd [134]  alive; [135] 
Down to the gulph beneath, [136]  where oft
The toiling wood-boy dragg'd aloft
His stubborn faggot from the brim,
And gaz'd, [137]  and tugg'd with sturdy limb;
And where the mind repose would seek,
A barren, storm-defying peak,
The Little DOWARD, lifted high
His rocky crown of royalty.
Hush! not a whisper! Oars, be still!
Comes that soft sound from yonder hill?
Or is it close at hand, so near [138] 
It scarcely strikes the list'ning ear?
E'en so; for down the green bank [139]  fell
An ice-cold stream from MARTIN'S WELL,
Bright as young beauty's azure eye,
And pure as infant chastity, [140] 
Each limpid draught, [141]  suffus'd [142]  with dew
The dipping glass's crystal hue;
And as it trembling reach'd the lip,
Delight sprung up at every [143]  sip.
Pure, temperate joys, and calm, were these; [144] 
We tost [145]  upon no Indian seas;
No savage chiefs, of various hue, [146] 
Came jabbering in the bark canoe [147] 
Our strength to dare, our course to turn;
Yet boats a South Sea chief would burn, [148] 
Sculk'd in the alder shade. Each bore,
Devoid of keel, or sail, or oar,
An upright fisherman, with eye, [149] 
Of Bramin-like solemnity, [150] 
Surveyed [151]  the surface either way,
And cleav'd [152]  it like a fly at play;
And crossways bore a balanc'd [153]  pole,
To drive the salmon from his hole;
Then heedful leapt, [154]  without parade,
On shore, as luck or fancy bade;
And o'er his back, in gallant trim, 435
Swung the light shell that carried him;
Then down again his burden threw,
And launch'd his whirling bowl anew;
Displaying, in his bow'ry station,
The infancy of navigation.
Soon round us spread the hills and dales, [155] 
Where GEOFFREY [156]  spun his magic tales,
And call'd them history. The land
Whence ARTHUR sprung, and all his band
Of gallant knights. Sire of romance,
Who led the fancy's mazy dance,
Thy tales shall please, thy name still be,
When Time forgets my verse and me.
Low sunk the sun, his ev'ning beam
Scarce reach'd us on the tranquil stream; [157] 
Shut from the world, and all its din,
Nature's own bonds had closed us in;
Wood, and deep dell, and rock, and ridge,
From smiling Ross to MONMOUTH BRIDGE;
From morn, till twilight stole away,
A long, unclouded, glorious day.



[1] The text of the first edition of The Banks of Wye; A Poem. In Four Books (London: Vernor, Hood & Sharpe, 1811), collated with the corrected second edition (London, B. & R. Crosby & Co., 1813) and the third edition (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Co., 1823). BACK

[2] See the note Bloomfield appended to the beginning of his manuscript 'Journal of a Ten Days' Tour': 'In my 'Shooters Hill' I have said, / "Of Cambrian Mountains still I dream" / &c. &c. but, / "Tis not for me to trace around / The wonders of my native land" / I find that it was through reading that poem that the tour was resolv'd on, at least that I became one of the party. My friends guess'd that I should like it, and they never form'd a better guess in their lives' [Bloomfield's note]. 'Shooter's Hill' appeared in Wild Flowers. Lines 73-80 read: 'Of Cambrian mountains still I dream, /And mouldering vestiges of war; / By time-worn cliff or classic stream / Would rove,—but prudence holds a bar. / Come then, O Health, I'll strive to bound / My wishes to this airy stand; / 'Tis not for me to trace around / The wonders of my native land. BACK

[3] uncommon] common 1813 BACK

[4] 1813 adds] Advertisement to the Second Edition

When this Poem, or Journal, was submitted to the Public, I endeavoured to meet that confined and temporary approbation, which its locality induced me to expect. It is, therefore, with no small pleasure that I have, thus, in a Second Edition, the power of correcting, and I hope amending, this favourite of my fancy, this gem of my memory, which flashes upon me still like the sunshine of Spring. I have seen no regular critique on the piece, strange as it may appear, (for I have left London,) and consequently, in the present instance, have not the advantage of public criticism.

The Lady whose name appears in the Dedication is no more; she was a wife and a mother, in their truest sense. And, it is sufficient for me to say, that she possessed the character which distinguishes her uncle, the venerable GRANVILLE SHARP.

In my own family, I have sustained the loss of my second daughter, in her twentieth year; yet, while Providence grants me peace of mind, I enjoy repose, and am, the Reader's Obedient, R.B. Shefford, Beds, April 7, 1813.


[5] Arthur's Hall.] omit 1813, 1823 BACK

[6] pleasure] Pleasure 1813, 1823 BACK

[7] awhile] a while 1813, 1823 BACK

[8] smoke,] smoke 1823 BACK

[9] dar'd ] dared 1823 BACK

[10] declin'd] declined 1823 BACK

[11] raptur'd] raptured 1823 BACK

[12] Bury, or Burg, the Saxon name for a hill, particularly for one wholly or partially formed by art. [1813 adds:] Uley Bury, from the singular valley below, embosoming Uley and Oulpen, is an eminence of singular beauty, crowned by intrenchments; though in itself but a kind of termination of the Cotswold Hills, in which character Stinchcombe takes the lead; and both command a vast prospect over the Severn and the mountains of South Wales [Bloomfield's note]. BACK

[13] Mansion, and flock,] O'er mansion, flock, 1813, 1823 BACK


[15] there] where 1813, 1823 BACK

[16] 1-41] MS A has, in place of these lines, an informal verse introduction about Giant Scoop [link 'Giant Scoop' to unadopted MS passage doc] BACK

[17] 'Shrieks of an agonizing King': Line 56 of Thomas Gray's 'The Bard: A Pindaric Ode' (1757), describing the death, by means of a red hot poker inserted into the rectum, of Edward II. BACK


[19] curv'd] curved 1823 BACK

[20] The Avon, associated with Shakespeare's verse because it flows through Stratford, falls into the Severn at Tewkesbury. BACK

[21] In Bloomfield's manuscript 'Journal of a Ten Days' Tour' is Robert Bransby Cooper's derivation of the word 'Bury', in Uley-Bury, from the Saxon for ant-hill. BACK

[22] And well with pomp more glorious shows / The ant-hill population knows] Omit 1813, 1823 BACK

[23] Here] When 1813, 1823 BACK

[24] Harmless we past, and unassail'd, / Nor once at roads or turnpikes rail'd:] But we no dang'rous chase pursued; / Sound wheels and hoofs their tasks renew'd; / Behind roll'd SEVERN, gleaming far, / Around us roar'd no sylvan war, 1813, 1823 BACK

[25] Through depths of shade oft sun-beams broke, / Midst noble FLAXLEY'S bow'rs of oak; ] 'Mid depths of shade, gay sunbeams broke / Through noble FLAXLEY'S bow'rs of oak; 1813, 1823 BACK

[26] Roman goddess of apples. BACK

[27] seen] queen 1813, 1823 BACK

[28] And] Though 1813, 1823 BACK

[29] Roman goddess of crops, the harvest. BACK

[30] her] her 1813, 1823 BACK

[31] wav'd] waved 1823 BACK

[32] With all its luggage left behind,] (Its usual luggage left behind,) 1813, 1823 BACK

[33] Dame Affectation's leaden wares, / Spleen, envy, pride, life's thousand cares,] Omit 1813, 1823 BACK

[34] Alexander Pope, a resident of Twickenham on the Thames, celebrated the Man of Ross in his third Epistle, 'To the Right Honourable Allen Lord Bathurst', lines 250-90. Kyrle is discussed in the guidebook Bloomfield consulted: Charles Heath, The Excursion down the Wye from Ross to Monmouth (Monmouth, 1808). BACK

[35] KYRL'S] KYRLE'S 1813, 1823 BACK

[36] cloth'd] clothed 1823 BACK

[37] far-fam'd] far-famed 1823 BACK

[38] day,] day 1823 BACK

[39] KYRL] KYRLE 1813, 1823 BACK

[40] Never;] Never: 1823 BACK

[41] 'The Man of Ross'] The Man of Ross 1813, 1823 BACK

[42] Ross, that exalts its spire on high / Above the flow'ry-margin'd WYE,] And long that spire shall time defy, / To grace the flow'ry-margin'd WYE, 1813, 1823 BACK

[43] The carriages were sent forward to meet the party at Chepstow. 1813, 1823 [Bloomfield's note] BACK

[44] dash'd] dash'd, 1823 BACK

[45] doubting] doubling 1813, 1823 BACK

[46] choose] chuse 1813 BACK

[47] thou] thou, 1813, 1823 BACK

[48] hast] hath 1813, 1823 BACK

[49] Henry the Seventh gave an irrevocable blow to the dangerous privileges assumed by the barons, in abolishing liveries and retainers, by which every malefactor could shelter himself from the law, on assuming a nobleman's livery, and attending his person. And as a finishing stroke to the feudal tenures, an act was passed, by which the barons and gentlemen of landed interest were at liberty to sell and mortgage their lands, without fines or licences for the alienation [Bloomfield's note]. BACK

[50] The ruins of Wilton Castle stand on the opposite side of the river, nearly fronting the town of Ross. 1813, 1823 add note [Bloomfield's note] BACK

[51] Awhile] A while 1813, 1823 BACK

[52] That mellow, wild, Eolian lay, / 'Sweet in the Woodlands,'] (That mellow, wild, Æolian lay, / 'Sweet in the Woodlands,') 1823 BACK

[53] An air of the time, written Dr. Harrington of Bath, which became popular enough for many different verses to be set to it. The verses that gave the air its name begin: 'How sweet in the woodlands, with fleet hound and horn, / To waken shrill Echo, and taste the fresh morn / But hard is the chase my fond heart must pursue, / For Daphne, fair Daphne is lost to my view'. BACK

[54] In] Their 1813, 1823 BACK

[55] Cape] cape 1813, 1823 BACK

[56] where;] where. 1823 BACK

[57] while;] while. 1823 BACK

[58] morn;] morn: 1823 BACK

[59] embowel'd] embowell'd 1823 BACK

[60] The castle, that is, was built of local stone and not stone brought from the Isle of Portland, Dorset. BACK

[61] kings] KINGS 1813, 1823 BACK

[62] cried] cry'd 1813 BACK

[63] low'r] lower 1823 BACK

[64] Hither] 'Hither 1813, 1823 BACK

[65] And] 'And 1813, 1823 BACK

[66] this] THIS 1813, 1823 BACK

[67] royal] Royal 1813, royal 1823 BACK

[68] Gwent, in which Monmouth lies, was one of the ancient regions of Wales which supported the Tudors. BACK

[69] shore,] shore 1823 BACK

[70] rais'd] raised 1823 BACK

[71] gaz'd] gazed 1823 BACK

[72] The boatman [Bloomfield's note]. BACK

[73] ease;] ease. 1823 BACK

[74] The] ––The 1813, 1823 BACK

[75] A seat belonging to the family of Vaughan, which is not unnoticed in the pages of history. According to tradition, it is the place where Henry the Fifth was nursed, under the care of the Countess of Salisbury, from which circumstance the original name of Grayfield is said to have been changed to Courtfield*. * This is probably an erroneous tradition; for Court was a common name for a manor-house, where the lord of the manor held his court.––Coxe's Monmouth. [Bloomfield's note, referring to William Coxe, An Historical Tour in Monmouthshire: Illustrated with views by Sir R. C. Hoare, Bart. A New Map of the County, and other Engravings (London, 1801)]. BACK

[76] fling,] fling 1823 BACK

[77] din'd] dined 1823 BACK

[78] crumbs] crums 1823 BACK

[79] stream,] stream 1823 BACK

[80] chang'd] changed 1823 BACK

[81] true?] true! 1823 BACK

[82] They doubtless shar'd] Perhaps they shared 1813, 1823 BACK

[83] rais'd] raised 1823 BACK

[84] reserv'd] reserved 1823 BACK

[85] stor'd,] stored 1823 BACK

[86] unbelov'd] unbeloved 1823 BACK

[87] prov'd] proved 1823 BACK

[88] lov'd] loved 1823 BACK

[89] immortality] poor mortality 1813, 1823 BACK

[90] appears,] appears 1823 BACK

[91] who] who, 1823 BACK

[92] midst] 'midst 1823 BACK

[93] more;] more. 1823 BACK

[94] Inscription on the side towards the water.

'Sacred to the memory of JOHN WHITEHEAD WARRE, who perished near this spot, whilst bathing in the river Wye, in sight of his afflicted parents, brother, and sisters, on the 14th of September, 1804, in the sixteenth year of his age.


Who, in his mercy, hath granted consolation to the parents of the dear departed, in the reflection, that he possessed truth, innocence, filial piety, and fraternal affection, in the highest degree. That, but a few moments before he was called to a better life, he had (with a never to be forgotten piety) joined his family in joyful thanks to his Maker, for the restoration of his mother's health. His parents, in justice to his amiable virtue and excellent disposition, declare, that he was void of offence towards them. With humbled hearts they bow to the Almighty's dispensation; trusting, through the mediation of his blessed Son, he will mercifully receive their child he so suddenly took to himself.

'This monument is here erected to warn parents and others how they trust the deceitful stream; and particularly to exhort them to learn and observe the directions of the Humane Society, for the recovery of persons apparently drowned. Alas! it is with the extremest sorrow here commemorated, what anguish is felt from a want of this knowledge. The lamented youth swam very well; was endowed with great bodily strength and activity; and possibly, had proper application been used, might have been saved from his untimely fate. He was born at Oporto, in the kingdom of Portugal, on the 14th of February, 1789; third son of James Warre, of London, and of the county of Somerset, merchant, and Elinor, daughter of Thomas Gregg, of Belfast, Esq.

'Passenger, whoever thou art, spare this tomb! It is erected for the benefit of the surviving, being but a poor record of the grief of those who witnessed the sad occasion of it. God preserve you and yours from such calamity! May you not require their assistance; but if you should, the apparatus, with directions for the application by the Humane Society, for the saving of persons apparently drowned, are lodged at the church of Coldwell.'

On the opposite side is inscribed,

'It is with gratitude acknowledged by the parents of the deceased, that permission was gratuitously, and most obligingly, granted for the erection of this monument, by William Vaughan, Esq. of Courtfield' [Bloomfield's note].


[95] few;] few: 1813; few. 1823 BACK

[96] distinct] distinct, 1813 BACK

[97] glow,] glow 1823 BACK

[98] Shake] Shakes 1813, 1823 BACK

[99] An everlasting silent reign?] A silent, everlasting reign? 1813, 1823 BACK

[100] names] names 1813, 1823 BACK

[101] Would that the Cambrian bards had here] Proud rocks! had Cambria's bards but here 1813, 1823 BACK

[102] Their names carved deep, so deep, so clear,] Their names engraven, deep and clear, 1813, 1823 BACK

[103] Might shout and cheer them with a song; / Might rush on wings of bliss away, / Through Fancy's boundless blaze of day!] Might greet with shouts these sires of song, / And trace the fame that mortal's crave / To LIGHT and LIFE beyond the grave! / Then might ye boast your wreaths entwined / With trophies of the deathless MIND; / Then would your fronts record on high, / 'We perish!––MAN can never die!' 1813, 1823 BACK

[104] fam'd] famed 1823 BACK

[105] Tho'] Though 1823 BACK

[106] ] A group of wranglers from the bar, / Suspending here their mimic war–– 1813, 1823 BACK

[107] Robert Vansittart (1728-1789), antiquarian, friend of Hogarth and Johnson, Professor of Law at Oxford. In person tall and very thin; leading the members of the Oxford bar to give the name of 'Counsellor Van' to a sharp-pointed rock on the Wye. BACK

[108] gown;] gown: 1823 BACK

[109] Strange it seem] Yet strange it seems 1813, 1823 BACK

[110] here] here 1813, 1823 BACK

[111] defy'd] defied 1823 BACK

[112] here] here 1813, 1823 BACK

[113] still,] still 1823 BACK

[114] He who in idle, happy trim,] Who thus, in idle, happy, trim, 1813, 1823 BACK

[115] ] And thus hath since his cares beguiled / By rhymes as joyous, and as wild? 1813, 1823 BACK

[116] I obey] he obeys 1813 BACK

[117] Truth, I obey.––The generous band,] Truth he obeys. The generous band, 1823 BACK

[118] his] POLLETT'S 1813, 1823 BACK

[119] e'en if] whether 1813, 1823 BACK

[120] roar;] roar 1813, 1823 BACK

[121] A stranger's triumph––he will feel] A stranger's triumph! He will feel 1813, 1823 BACK

[122] And let not wandering strangers fear / That WYE is ended there or here;] Nor let the wandering stranger fear / That WYE here ends her wild career; 1813, 1823 BACK

[123] Though foliage close, though hills may seem / To bar all access to a stream] Though closing boughs,––though hills may seem / To bar egress to the stream 1813, 1823 BACK

[124] rock] rock, 1823 BACK

[125] This rocky isthmus, perforated at the base, would measure not more than six hundred yards, and its highest point is two thousand feet above the water. If this statement, taken from Coxe's History of Monmouthshire, and an Excursion down the Wye, by C. Heath, of Monmouth, is correct, its elevation is greater than that of the 'Pen y Vale,' or 'Sugar-Loaf-Hill,' ['Sugar-Loaf-Mountain,' 1813, 1823] near Abergavenny. Yet it has less the appearance of a mountain, than the river has that of an excavation. [It is probable that some error has crept into the publications above named. 1813, 1823] [Bloomfield's note, referring to William Coxe, An Historical Tour in Monmouthshire: Illustrated with views by Sir R. C. Hoare, Bart. A New Map of the County, and other Engravings (London, 1801), and Charles Heath, The Excursion down the Wye from Ross to Monmouth (Monmouth, 1808)]. BACK

[126] hunter, born] hunter,––born 1813, 1823 BACK

[127] scorn;] scorn. 1813 BACK

[128] to gain a glance,] to mark th' advance 1813; to mark the advance 1823 BACK

[129] Or shepherd lad,] Of rival arms.— 1813; Of rival arms; 1823 BACK

[130] iron-bowel'd] iron-bowell'd 1823 BACK

[131] mound,] mound 1823 BACK

[132] But stranger] But, stranger, 1823 BACK

[133] forge] forge, 1813, 1823 BACK

[134] The custom is here alluded to of stripping the bark from oaks while growing, which gives an almost undescribable, though not the most agreeable, effect to the landscape [Bloomfield's note]. BACK

[135] alive;] alive, 1823 BACK

[136] beneath,] beneath; 1813, 1823 BACK

[137] gaz'd] gazed 1823 BACK

[138] Or is it close at hand, so near] Or is the sound so faint, though near 1813, 1823 BACK

[139] bank] bank, 1813 BACK

[140] chastity,] chastity; 1823 BACK

[141] draught,] draught 1823 BACK

[142] suffus'd] suffused 1823 BACK

[143] every] ev'ry 1813 BACK

[144] these;] these 1823 BACK

[145] tost] toss'd 1823 BACK

[146] chiefs, of various hue] Chiefs, with tawny crew 1813, 1823 BACK

[147] In Cæsar's Commentaries, mention is made of boats of this description, formed of a raw hide, (from whence, perhaps, their name Coricle,) [Coracle 1823] which were in use among the natives. How little they dreamed of the vastness of modern perfection, and of the naval conflicts of latter days! [Bloomfield's note, referring to Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic Wars]. Bloomfield's imagination was caught by what he read about South Sea island customs and society. In a note to The Farmer's Boy; a Rural Poem (London, 1800), p. 102, he quotes a passage from 'Reflections of Otaheite: Cook's second Voyage' thus: 'The King, at times, amuses himself with the occupations of his subjects; and not yet depraved by false notions of empty state, he often paddles his own canoe, without considering such an employment derogatory to his dignity'. He probably read the passage in The Lady's Magazine; or Entertaining Magazine for the fair Sex or The Town and Country Magazine, or Universal Repository for May 1777. BACK

[148] burn,] burn 1823 BACK

[149] eye,] eye 1823 BACK

[150] solemnity,] solemnity 1823 BACK

[151] Surveyed] Who scanned 1813, 1823 BACK

[152] cleav'd] cleaved 1823 BACK

[153] balanc'd] balanced 1823 BACK

[154] leapt] leap'd 1823 BACK

[155] dales,] dales 1823 BACK

[156] Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 1100-c. 1155), clergyman whose Historia Regum Britanniae narrates the lives of Lear, Cymbeline, Merlin and Arthur. BACK

[157] stream;] stream: BACK