Tuesday, August 23, 2011


to a couple of poems by Lee Lally that took me by surprise today.


Another link that I clicked on from Mark Scroggins' Culture Industry took me to the Library Edition of Ruskin's Works. Ah Time, time! But this being the modern world, I've read only one page, the first poem, Ruskin's lament for missing out on a Lake District trip in his 14th year.


I WEARY for the torrent leaping
From off the scar’s rough crest;
My muse is on the mountain sleeping,
My harp is sunk to rest.

I weary for the fountain foaming,
For shady holm and hill;
My mind is on the mountain roaming,
My spirit’s voice is still.

I weary for the woodland brook
That wanders through the vale;
I weary for the heights that look
Adown upon the dale.

The crags are lone on Coniston,
And Loweswater’s dell;
And dreary on the mighty one,
The cloud-enwreathed Scawfell.

I had not realized he was such a Lake District fan.

According to the editor, the second line of the last stanza was originally "And Glaramara's dell". Now that makes a lot of sense, referring to Combe Gill, the hanging valley which is indeed thick with lone crags. Besides, Glaramara is geographically very close to Scawfell and Coniston.

The reference to Loweswater, found in the 1850 edition but not in the MS, is harder to explain. By Lake District standards it is not a very craggy place. It also doesn't scan, though it's a metrical irregularity with quite a conventional tune and might perhaps have seemed attractively acceptable even in 1850.


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