1827
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lines on observing a Hawthorn Fence, on the Banks of the Tees, cut down. In imitation of Gray.

The Stockton Midsummer and Christmas Visitor No. 5 (June 1827) 192-93.

Mrs. W.


A paraphrase of Gray's Eton College Ode in four stanzas, signed "Mrs. W., Stockton": "Say, Father Tees, for thou hast seen, | Say, was it ruthless taste | Or av'rice from thy margent green | The sylvan beauties chac'd?" Stockton, on the banks of the River Tees, had a shipbuilding industry, which may have had something to do with the devastation chronicled in this local poem. The Stockton Visitor was published twice annually by John Appleton, and consisted entirely of verse.



Ye grassy seats! ye hawthorn bowers!
That crown the wat'ry glade;
Where Commerce oft her bounty pours,
By MILL'S verdant shade:
Shorn are your fragrant honours now,
Your turfy hillocks all laid low,
Scar'd is the linnet from the spray,
Silent the thrush and blackbird's song,
Where rolls the rapid TEES along
His wildly devious way.

Ah! pleasing mounds — regretted shades!
Ah! flow'rs belov'd in vain!
No matrons grave, no blooming maids
Shall lead their infant train
To feel the gales that o'er ye blow
A cheering influence bestow,
Chill'd is their gladsome wing;
No more the aged shall they sooth,
Nor minister to drooping youth
A foretaste of the spring.

Say, Father Tees, for thou hast seen,
Say, was it ruthless taste
Or av'rice from thy margent green
The sylvan beauties chac'd?
The furious north-wind now shall cleave
With icy arm thy glassy wave,
Thy captive streams shall thrall;
No more his mates the school-boy leads,
To gambol 'midst thy whisp'ring reeds,
Or on thine echoes call.

To each his suff'rings; why complain,
Or these lov'd scenes bemoan?
A lot awaits the flow'ry train
Congenial to my own;
Let not this truth one sigh create,
Sweet hope attends on ev'ry state,
'Tho' happiness too swiftly flies;
May the resemblance teach me this,
Justly t' appreciate earthly bliss
And evanescent joys.

[pp. 192-93]