Moving up river a little further and up into the hills above Kingsteignton you might reach the same spot where George Templer once stood. A leading industrialist and luminary in Teignmouth social circles of the early 19th century he was also described as “a poet of no mean order”, although I have been unable to find any collections of his works.
He built the New Quay in Teignmouth as part of his enterprise for shipping granite from Dartmoor to London. However, he didn’t have a great business head and was forced to sell his beloved Stover estate in 1829. This poem was written at that time on looking down at Stover from the Haldon hills. Is it a little ironic that Stover park now hosts the Ted Hughes poetry trail?
On Looking back from Haldon for the last time on Stover
Stover, farewell! Still fancy’s hand shall trace
Thy pleasures past in all their former grace,
And I will wear and cherish, though we part,
The dear remembrance ever at my heart.
The thrilling tones still vibrate on my ear,
When every hill in tuneful chorus rung
And every dell your deepest wilds among,
Filled with the chaunting of my gallant cry,
In tenfold echoes paid their melody.
Not as the hare, whom hounds and horn pursue,
In timid constancy I cling to you;
But, like the bolder chase, resolved I fly
That where I may not live I will not die.
(Note: I have pieced this together from two fragments – the 2nd verse was quoted in a different location and I have inserted it where I thought most appropriate with the other two verses.)
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George Templer …..