Rhodes Marriott

Ashover Revisited

Ashover! Be thy name, for ever green,
Encircled round, by many a breezy hill;
From which, the ancient Village Church is seen
Down in the sheltered vale, so calm, and still.

In that secluded spot just rest awhile,
Beneath those grand and lofty trees that throw
Their shadow, o'er the "Venerable Pile"
And sculptured monuments; of grief and woe.

These tell a tale, of many a sorrow here,
Of friends departed, - lovers left alone;
One mourns a wife, and that, a husband dear,
A Mother, this! on that poor humble stone.

Yes! There she lies, the one who gave me birth,
And nursed my infant form too brief alas!
Her stay, upon this ever changing earth
From which the longest lived must quickly pass.

Had she but lived, to life's allotted span,
My life (till manhood), happier might have been;
But then who truly, does the future plan,
Or paint the landscape, they have never seen.

I do not murmur, though I ponder o'er
My youthful days, which never can return,
Regrets, are useless, let me "look-before",
My steps, are hastening; to an unknown bourn.

Where life's grand mystery! shall be understood,
And all made plain, without a shade of doubt;
Those need not fear, whose lives are truly good
And sinners, who repent, are not cast out.

"Spite-Winter" what a name; yet how it brings
To memory, scenes of childhood, long ago
The stony crags, the tiny rippling springs,
And sombre woods, where curious mosses grow.

"Stone-Edge" the place, where all my youthful days
In childish innocence, were passed, among
The quiet fields; or on the lone highways
In boyish glee, I gaily tripped along.

Without a single care, to mar the joy
Of perfect freedom, from the toil and strife
Which many feel - how happy when a boy
I roved at will - no passions, yet were rife.

To fill my mind, with sad forebodings - now
The woods I roamed, and watched the squirrel climb
The lofty trees, and spring from bough, to bough
Thrice happy days that glorious summer time.

Yes, then! life had a charm, which only those
Brought up in nature's wilds; can ever know
Who love the scented hawthorn, and the rose
That on the hedges, in wild beauty grow.

And still though sixty years, have passed away,
Scarce aught, seems changed, the woods, and rocks, are there
The quiet fields, and flowers just as gay,
And birds, as blithly sing, your hearts to cheer.

Perchance, I may not view those scenes again
If so, farewell! I shall not soon forget
Those hills, and dales, no! they will still remain
Fresh in my memory, ever fondly yet.

August 1888.