We have had a number of home-grown poets whose works are to be found in Bourne Hall Library in Ewell Village. Some remind us of the ancient and charming place in which we live, some deal delightfully with other subjects. The following is a selection of the work of our local poets.
TO HIS SONNE VINCENT CORBETT
What I shall leave thee none can tell,
But all shall say I wish thee well:
I wish thee,Vin, before all wealth,
Both bodily and ghostly health;
Nor too much wealth, nor wit, come to thee,
Too much of either may undoe thee.
I wish for thee learning, not for show,
But truly to instruct and know,
Not such as Gentlemen require,
To prate at Table, or at Fire.
I wish thee all thy mother's graces,
Thy father's fortunes, and his places.
I wish thee friends, and one at Court,
Not to build on, but to support:
To keepe thee, not in doing many
Oppressions, but from suffering any.
I wish thee peace in all thy wayes,
Nor lazy nor contentious dayes;
And when thy soule and body part,
As innocent as now thou art.
Richard Corbett (1582 -1635) born in Ewell
Ah, me, the dawn is slow
Far away in the East
A golden radiance lies
But dark is the night o'erhead
And dark is the earth below.
I watch from the hill
Through the long, dim twilight hour
While bats flit by in the dusk,
And hark! Til a robin's trill
Wistful and sweet and clear
Telling of day anear
Though the dawn be slow.
On Epsom Downs when racing does begin,
Large companies from every part come in
Tag rag and bob-tail, lords and ladies meet
And squires without estates each other greet.
A scoundrel here, pray take it on my word,
If a companion for the greatest lord,
Provided that his purse abounds with gold.
If not, then this affection will not hold.
Here the promiscuous and ungovern'd crew
Crowds to son what is neither strange nor new:
Bets upon bets, this man says - two to one
Another pointing cries Good sir, 'tis done.
See how they gallop o'er the spacious plane,
As if pursu'd and dreading to be slain:
Not half such speed would any of them make
To save their country if she lay at stake.
The races done, to town the mob repair.
Some curse their fate, and some the booty share.
MY EPSOM RIDE
[Pencilled in the saddle on a blank sheet of paper,
28 May 1857 on going from Albury over the Downs to the Derby]
The breezy Downs and a spirited horse,
And the honeyed breath of the golden gorse,
And tinkling bells of the bleating ewes,
And a bright panorama of changing views,
And all that is peaceful and cheerful beside,
Oh these I get in my Epsom ride.
The soft sea, turquoise and midnight blue
Knocks at the rocks and taunts the sky
With gentle laughter
The clouds assemble like giant pillows
Where man's itinerant spirit may rest
From earth's uncertainty
To see in panoramic simplicity
The natural beauty of our realm.
John Ashby Rolls
THE ALFOLD ROAD
If you need to believe that the Lord is here
Take the Alfold road in Spring.
'Neath the trees you will find a white mantle of stars
And a promise of blue on the wing.
Cow parsley waves from the roadside
Small animals scurry for life.
SLOW DOWN! You'll not want to harm them
In their world of sweetness and light.
Above you the trees are a haven of green
A choir of birds will be singing:
Your faith will return - of course there's a Lord
He is here all around in your being.
Margaret E. McComish [a Surrey poet]
EASTER OF DAFFODILS
Say, shall we ask of the shy yellow daffodil
Or of the crocus full-blown?
Or shall we wait for the lily imperial,
Crowned queen on her throne?
"Came one to waken you, whisper and summon you,
Bidding you up and arise?
Or did you stir in the dark all unknowing till
Spring opened your eyes?
Whence came your golden hue, whence is the loveliness
None but a flower can contain?
Are ye the soul of the Easter of daffodils
New risen again?"
Ah we may ask in this rapturous hour
Of one and another in vain!
Still is the soul of the Easter of daffodils
New risen again.
O blessed light which fills the day
O blessed joy which fills my heart
O quietude which is the way
Of inner peace which is the start
Of that new life which ever is
O bliss commanding all my thought
O love the wonder all of this
O rock which is the truth I sought.
John Ashby Rolls
LOVE AND LILAC
My love she is fair as yon lilac bush,
Robed in green and mauve on spring morning,
In sunlight bedecked glows my lilac bush
So fragrant, so rare in adorning.
My soul on the wing of the nightingale
Must fly to the lilac flower
And charm with sweet song all the air along
For spring and love's own hour.