Saturday, October 17, 2020

Saturday 17th October


Salisbury Cathedral from the meadow - John Constable

A poem this morning, acknowledging Autumn, which came so suddenly.  Elizabeth Browning and I share one thing in common we both own spaniels, or did own one.   Virginia Woolf wrote a book on Elizabeth's dog called Flush. Apparently she regretted it afterwards, as its story line was about dognapping but I love the way Flush stayed with his mistress through thick and thin as she escaped with her lover and then husband Robert Browning.

I have been busy spinning different coloured Merino tops for a crochet blanket.  My mind captures, like the glitter balls that twirled on the dance floors above your head, memories that make me both sad and happy.  I think the melancholia of Autumn affects the brain!  

The Autumn

Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them --
The summer flowers depart --
Sit still -- as all transform'd to stone,
Except your musing heart.

How there you sat in summer-time,
May yet be in your mind;
And how you heard the green woods sing
Beneath the freshening wind.
Though the same wind now blows around,
You would its blast recall;
For every breath that stirs the trees,
Doth cause a leaf to fall.

Oh! like that wind, is all the mirth
That flesh and dust impart:
We cannot bear its visitings,
When change is on the heart.
Gay words and jests may make us smile,
When Sorrow is asleep;
But other things must make us smile,
When Sorrow bids us weep!

The dearest hands that clasp our hands, --
Their presence may be o'er;
The dearest voice that meets our ear,
That tone may come no more!
Youth fades; and then, the joys of youth,
Which once refresh'd our mind,
Shall come -- as, on those sighing woods,
The chilling autumn wind.

Hear not the wind -- view not the woods;
Look out o'er vale and hill-
In spring, the sky encircled them --
The sky is round them still.
Come autumn's scathe -- come winter's cold --
Come change -- and human fate!
Whatever prospect Heaven doth bound,
Can ne'er be desolate.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning


  1. That scene in the Constable painting has remained almost unchanged to this day.

    1. There is always a feeling of relief that we protect what is beautiful in this country, whether it be buildings or landscapes.

    2. I think Boris is about to change all that.

    3. There is always a backlash in this country about the unfairness of - whatever takes your fancy ;)

  2. Interesting what Tom has to say sbove. I love this poem as I do all her poetry. Just hits the spot.

  3. She is accomplished in her writing, but the Romantic image of her colours the story of her life.

  4. Thanks for sharing this poem Thelma. I like the word "scathe". It's not a word we encounter very often. It means "harm or injury". Elizabeth Browning seems to have a glum, rather despondent view of autumn when it is just the seasons turning as they have always done. Mind you, this particular autumn with COVID, death, floundering politicians, Brexit and the like - it is easy to feel glum and despondent.

  5. Yes it is very gloomy, probably reflecting the mood of the moment. But then those Victorian poets revelled in breaking hearts and gloomy despair.


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