1845 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Edwards

John Holland, "John Edwards" Poets of Yorkshire; comprising Sketches of the Lives, and Specimens of the Writings of those Children of Song (1845) 137-38.



This amiable man, and pleasing poet, was born in the Moravian community, at Fulneck, near Leeds, Dec. 5, 1772; he left that place about 1790, and went to Derby, in which town he has remained in business to the present time. The first publication of Mr. Edwards, was "All Saint's Church," a blank verse composition, 1805. The first edition of "The Tour of the Dove, or a visit to Dovedale," appeared in 1821; the second in 1823. The romantic valley down which flows the stream which separates Derbyshire from Staffordshire, has often inspired the poet's verse, as well as adorned the painter's canvass: many years ago, Samuel Bentley published "the River Dove, a Lyric Pastoral." Some other and smaller pieces have appeared from our author's pen, including "Recollections of Filey," a bathing place near Scarborough. I believe Mr. Edwards contemplates the collection, and republication of his poems, including the last mentioned one considerably enlarged, in a single volume.

From the poem on "Dovedale, " I extract the following apostrophe to Water:—

Thou eldest of the elements that sprung
From underneath the Spirit's brooding wings,
When chaos heard the Voice whose fiat rang,
Commanding life and being to all things,—
Hail! Water! — beautiful thy gushing springs,
The lakes and rivers; — shrined in clouds or dew;
In ice or snow, or where the rainbow flings
Its radiant arch; — in every form and hue,
Thou, glorious Element, art ever fair and new!
The virgin waters rise and overflow;
The cloud-nursed torrents hasting down the mountains,
Pursue in devious brooks their course below,
Onward the broad bright river glides, although
A steadfast object, from the hills descried;
And mighty ocean, heaving to and fro,
Rocked by the undulations of the tide,
Is with perpetual renovations purified.