Devon A Poem
We’ve completed the walk along the sea-front and up to Haldon. Now we drop down from Lidwell back to Teignmouth and a new batch of poems, picking up a theme of ‘people’.
We return to the nineteenth century with today’s post which is a selection of snippets from a poem called “Devon” written by Isaac Gompertz in 1825 and published by E.Croydon at the Public Library in Teignmouth. The poem is a sort of historical travelogue in verse, but has some interesting references to various people who moved in the social circles of Teignmouth of that time.
It is 37 pages long so I have just selected snippets which relate to the areas around Teignmouth. There are a series of notes at the end of the poem which explain some of the references in the poem and I have included these after each snippet of verse where appropriate.
While o’er the borders of the fluent Teign
and Ocean wide in retrospect expands,
Thro’ Devon’s undulating sylvan haunts
To upland scenes of wood and water borne, …..(P1)
Note 2: “The scene of the Poem is placed near Teignmouth, of which the Teignmouth Guide observes — ”To the antiquary the Town of Teignmouth from its age, being coeval with the Caer Isca or city of Exeter, must be a place of interest — indeed a Note in Polwhele mentions Phoenician Coins, to have been found there; and added to this a Roman Causeway was found not long since, in building a Bridge at Teigngrace;”
Exalted on this elevated site,
Delightful on this eminence alone.
Earth, sky, and sea, and crags abrupt to view,
And Hills cerulean melting into air. — ….. (P3)
Note 4: – “The Hill (page 3 line 5), called Cork-screw Hill in the road to Bishopsteignton”
“And gently flows the glassy Teign our guide;
While in the rear still widely ocean spreads.
Like human life to drear eternity- “ ….. (P18)
Note 8: – (Page 18 line 7) – extract from the Teignmouth Guide p6 about the river Teign
Descend we from these gay enamel’d slopes,
And retrospective take a bolder flight,
Where less familiar objects strike the gaze,
On Holcombe’s brow stupendous, where behold,
The awful swells, as billows of the deep,
Precipitate arrested in their course. ….. (P23)
Note 11 – (Page 23, line 11) – Holcombe Down is situated near Little Haldon, on which the Guide observes ”Little Haldon, from whence is a bird’s-eye view of all the surrounding Country, as well as, a commanding view of the channel the Exe and the Teign”
Then bid adieu! But yet askaunt behold
The beauteous Exe, and Teign, two lucid streams,
That pour at once their tribute to the main;” (P32)
Note 13: – (page 32, line 16) – “From this point of Holcombe Down, you see to the west Teignmouth, the River Teign, Shaldon, its adjacent hamlets, Shaldon Hill, and the Ness …..”
“Nor be the Cartwrights (14) Lucas (l5) Luny (l6) Strutt (17)
And Tonkin (18) — men of science and of taste, —
(And with their circles graced of Ladies fair)
Forgot — in this bless’d province of our Isle,! (P35)
Note 14: – (page 35, line 4) – “The Cartwrights, – skilful Surgeons of Teignmouth, an amiable and accomplished family”
Note 15: – (page 35, line 4) – “Lucas – an eminent Doctor of Medicine, possessing great taste in arts, likewise an amiable family of Teignmouth”
Note 16: – (page 35, line 4) – “Luny – a celebrated Marine Painter, who is the more remarkable for being so great an invalid, and martyr to the Rheumatic Gout, as to be nearly deprived of the use of his members, and is under the necessity of having even his pencil put into his hand.”
Note 17: – (page 35, line 4) – “Strutt – a very excellent Artist, possessing great versatility of talent equally eminent as a miniature and Landscape Painter, also an amiable character and a Dissenting Clergyman.”
Note 18: – (page 35, line 5) – “Tonkin – there are a few Gentlemen in the county more generally known, and none more respected than Captain Tonkin to which the universality of his talents, and his scientific pursuits, greatly contribute.”
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Isaac Gompertz …..