Autumnal Musings

Haldon Views

Haldon Views

Another myth in a few days time.  In the mean time ….. the South West Coast Path heads inland briefly from the Parson and Clerk rocks.  Just as we did at the end of the walk along the estuary we are leaving the coast behind and climbing up to the Haldon hills with their superb and extensive views across the Exe estuary, the coast, the Teign estuary and Dartmoor to the north

As at the end of the walk along the Teign we now have another poem by Marion Prowse, friend in Teignmouth of John Keats.  It is called Autumnal Musings and is 38 verses long.  I have just selected those verses which have been ascribed to the Haldon hills in the poem notes which you can link to at the end of the poem.

Autumnal Musings
(Marianne Prowse, 1830)


Once – and once only – when the earth was rife
With great destruction – then the whelming deep
Rush’d back impetuously; and the dark strife
Hath left its records on yon misty steep1,
For things that wont their darksome homes to keep
In the ‘mid waters – on the land were cast,
Tokens that the Omnipotent had past.


Winds! that upon your errands come and go,
For ever – and for ever – and for ever –
Coeval with the ocean’s ebb and flow,
Types of Eternity, which we endeavour
With human pow’rs to fathom – finding never
Or bound or clue – Wand’rers can ye not tell,
Tales of yon piny mount and heath-clad dell?


Have ye not sung the Druid to his slumbers
Here on this tufted height – (perchance embower’d
By shade like this, where I these idle numbers
In weariness of heart do weave) – o’erpower’d
By the dim future, which all darkly shower’d
Came down like night – what visions did ye bring
The white-robed seer when he lay slumbering?


Hath not the fierce Dane felt your mighty breath2
Tossing the forest like the restless main,
While the half-savage ponder’d deeds of death
Stretch’d in his vast encampment? What remain
Of all the hosts that throng’d yon mountain plain –
The tumulus and its bleach’d bones – the mound
Heap’d by the human fruit that strew’d the ground.


More gentle off’rings do ye scatter now –
The tapering fir-cone and the beech nuts brown
Falling like rain – while from the floating bough
The agile squirrel as a bird darts down
To board th’abundant store, ere winter’s frown
Shall banish fruit and blossom from the earth,
Till Spring begins anew their dewy birth.


Thus spake I, till the last notes of the breeze
Were dying quite away – and the dim light
Grew into loveliness – the parting trees
Gave quiet glimpses of the Queen of night
Who floated up the arch of heav’n – bedight
With a soft glory, beaming love and joy,
As erst she look’d upon the Carian boy.

Want to know more?  Check out:

Poems by I S Prowse …..
The Haldon Hills …..
Poem Notes …..


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