Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PLACE OF FAME, by CHARLES WILLIAM BRODRIBB

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE PLACE OF FAME, by            
First Line: The marriage registers of somerset
Last Line: Say from your heart:—god rest each simple soul!
Subject(s): Marriage; Somerset, England; Weddings; Husbands; Wives

The marriage registers of Somerset:
Printed and bound lest later men forget.
Theme for the sage who sang the village lore,
Or him who penned the annals of the poor.
Yet scarce the theme—for these may only claim
To be inscribed as wedded sire and dame.
Bare list of names saved from devouring time
Of those that heard the jocund marriage-chime.
Not of the great, whose blazoned pride is shown
Carved for all age in monumental stone;
But of the lowlier, unadventurous kind,
Yeoman and farmer, shepherd, ditcher, hind,
Who passed like ripe fruit falling from the tree
And left behind a like-named progeny.

What of their lives? No record lives to tell.
It is but writ they heard the marriage-bell.
Were their days happy? Vain it were to ask;
They lived their lives, be sure, and did their task.
At times, be sure, they wept, at times they laughed,
Toiled in the field, took rest and cider quaffed,
Drove beasts to market, milked and baked and brewed,
Knew nought of statesmen's strife or doctors' feud,
Went every week to church and came away,
And rested thankfully the seventh day.
No foreign trumpet ever broke their peace,
Though civil war left not unstained their leas:
When strangely moved, smith, hedger, miner, all
Ran to subserve the unworthy Monmouth's call,
And rudely armed stood up with scythe and bill
To give the Royal soldiery their fill,
But failed; yet after James' and Jeffreys' crime,
Still unforgotten, lived as in old time,
Wooing and wedding, honest Jane and John,
Mary and William, as the years ran on—
Prance, Pattram, Rodbeard, Scurrier, Naybrick, Lyde;
Names that still haunt the quiet countryside.

And we whose fathers came of that same race
A grandsire's grandsire in these books may trace,
Names with the year "spelt by the unlettered muse";
To tell us more the registers refuse.
Nor ask for more; but as you read the roll,
Say from your heart:—God rest each simple soul!

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