The Table Book; by William Hone. Vol. 2 (1828) 163.

Richard Howitt

Two Spenserians: "Millhouse" is the Nottingham autodidact Robert Millhouse, author of Sherwood Forest (1827) and several other poems in Spenserians. William Hone reprints the poem from the Nottingham Mercury, where it apparently appeared without signature.

John Wilson: SHEPHERD. Wha are thae three brothers and sisters, the Howitts, sir, whose names I see in the advertisements? NORTH. I do not know, James. It runs in my head that they are Quakers. Richard and William — they will not be angry if I mistake their names — seem amiable and ingenious men — and sister Mary writes beautifully— SHEPHERD. What do you mean by beautifully? That's vague. NORTH. Her language is chaste and simple — her feelings tender and pure — and her observation of nature accurate and intense" Blackwood's Magazine 29 (November 1828) in Noctes Ambrosianae (1857) 3:171.

My thought is of a solitary place,
Where twilight dwells, where sunbeams rarely fall;
And there a wild rose hangs in pensive grace,
Reflected in a fountain clear and small;
Above them rise dark shadowy trees and tall,
Whilst round them grow rank night-shades in the gloom,
Which seem with noxious influence to pall
The fountain's light, and taint the flower's perfume,
As fainly they would mar what they might not out-bloom.

These mind me, Millhouse! of thy spirit's light,
That twilight makes in life so dark as thine!
And though I do not fear the rose may blight,
Or that the fountain's flow may soon decline;
Hope is there none, the bough which frown malign,
High over-head should let in heaven's sweet face;
Yet shall not these their life unknown resign,
For nature's votaries, wandering in each place,
Shall find their secret shade, and marvel at their grace.

[pp. 92-93]