Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PRAISES OF WILTSHIRE, by CHARLES WILLIAM BRODRIBB



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PRAISES OF WILTSHIRE, by            
First Line: But let not the forests of scotland, harbour of horned deer
Last Line: If those ancestral habitations know me a grandson.
Subject(s): Wiltshire, England


But let not the forests of Scotland, harbour of horned deer,
Nor Cornwall's coastline nor green Shakespearean Arden
Muster against Wiltshire's praises; not Snowdon or Exmoor,
Nor the level Fenland's flat scenery, flaming at even.
Here throng no week-end visitors exacting amusements,
Gorgeous hotels, arabesque bandstands and flimsy casinos;
Neither upon this Plain pours Whitechapel out for an airing.
Nay, fogger and teamster still toil on it, earning a sober
Livelihood in the valleys that spire-high Salisbury peeps on.
Here in chalk the gallant war horse, immemorial outline,
Snorts on his own hillside, and here a manoeuvring army
Practises its tactics for a nation's victory elsewhere.
Here the Present gives place to the Past, as turfy reminders
Stand of man's primitive fosse-fortresses, high above envy.
Here earth guards hidden ossuaries and traces of ancient
Urn-burial: yon grassy barrow curves over a chieftain
Gone to ash, or kings' bones bear beechen copses upon them.
Neither has age abolished sarsen monumentally sited:
Avebury encircled invites her curious Aubreys,
And Stonehenge—the shepherd's lean-to till custody ringed it.
See the pleasant township, medieval Laycock, a wonder,
And for fifty widows Froxfield's quadrangular almshouse.
Add many fine palaces—thy noble library, Longleat,
Thy galleries, Bowood, once wartime shelter of exiled
Bloomsbury when Lansdowne's Periclean piety housed it.
Add the Netherhampton pierced gate and garden, a PATRON'S
Hospitable mansion, near Herbert's rectory, hard by
Pembroke's lordly demesne. Addison this country has also
Claim upon, and old Hobbes whom vasty Leviathan argues
Of subtle intelligence—deepest moonraker of Avon.
Hail to honest Mother-earth! All hail untrumpeted Urchfont,
And Wootton and the Cannings; hail Marlborough and the Devizes,
If those ancestral habitations know me a grandson.





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