This poem combines three of George Hardinge's literary interests: sonnets, antiquarianism, and topographical poetry. While he published little, Hardinge was a prolific amateur poet: the poetry in the second volume of this posthumous collection runs to over five hundred pages, and is not comprehensive.
Author's notes: "Sir William [sic] Raleigh had the Castle of Lismore, now a picturesque and beautiful ruin. It was not very distant from Spenser's abode. He visited the poet there — and cultivated his friendship. Sir William Raleigh offered Spenser his protection at the English Court; and suffered him to languish in 'hope deferred.' — N.B. Rennie, though stript of all its wood, is highly romantic still — It must have been a Paradise. — The Poet alludes both to Mole and the Mulla" 3:22n.
Hardinge briefly alludes to characters in the Faerie Queene in two undated local poems in Miscellaneous Works. In Court Hill, a Tour from Tenbury to Ludlow, he writes, "The peasants' mounted girlds I meet, | With many a Talus at their feet: | We Bards have dreams that never fail us — | I dreamt of Una kissing Talus" 2:505. In Soliloquy found in a Recess in Dr. M—'s Garden, he writes, "Ye Harriets, come! — ye Indian porters, | Talus and Una, my Reporters; | Tell, if you ever heard an oath | Disturb the debt of Nuptial troth" 2:527. Notes informs us that these characters are "The Wife's Abigail" and "An old servant"; Una and Talus are "Names which I gave to them" 527n.
'Twas here that Nature to the Poet's dream
Gave her enchanting forms, and bless'd his Muse
With scenes that MOLE his proud summit views
Enamour'd still; where MULLA'S wizard stream,
With hues unborrow'd of the Solar beam,
In frolic dance her glittering wave pursues;
Or where the cold and leafless rocks accuse
The ear, that heard unmov'd the giant-scream
Of many an ancient forest, crush'd and slain.
'Twas here that from Lismore, with state oppress'd,
The Fugitive took shelter: it was here
That verse could soothe Ambition's goading pain,
With charm inspir'd: — Historian, blot the rest!
And spare the Muses a degrading tear!