Jane Austen and Palgrave


At Lyme Regis

Calm, azure, marble sea,
As a fair palace pavement largely spread,
Where the grey bastions of the eternal hills
Lean over languidly,
Bosomed with leafy trees and garlanded!

Peace is on all I view;
Sunshine and peace; earth clear as heaven one hour;
Save where the sailing cloud it's dusky line
Ruffles along the blue,
Brushed by the soft wing of the silent shower.

In no profounder calm
Did the great Spirit over ocean brood,
Ere the first hill his yet unclouded crest
Rear'd, or the first fair palm
Doubled her maiden beauty in the flood.

Francis Turner Palgrave

The poem is undated and unsourced... but we believe it originates from his rare booklet of poems "A Lyme Garland" of 1874. We also know that Palgrave made his first visit to Lyme Regis in 1867, so, it was almost certainly written between 1867 and 1874. Much earlier, prior to the great Lyme Regis fire of May 16th 1844, this building (now The Sanctuary Bookshop, No. 65 Broad Street) was 'The Three Cups Hotel', which, after the fire, was rebuilt further up Broad Street. Interestingly, Palgrave states that this building (65 Broad Street) was the Hotel where, "…the Musgrove Party stayed" (from Jane Austen's famous novel "Persuasion"). The whole episode is fully discussed in another rare book "Jane Austen and Lyme Regis" by Emma Austen-Leigh (1941). P.S. On one delightful occasion a party of visiting Japanese tourists, on the Jane Auten trail, asked us if they could actually see the bedroom where the Musgrove Party stayed....!

The top Sea View is from our Front B & B Guest Bedroom. The View below is taken from our Rear Guest Bedroom. Come and stay with us. Click here for more Information and our very modest tariff...


The Lover

Though I have had friends

And a beautiful love

There is one lover I await above all.

She will not come to me

In the time of soft plum-blossoms

When the air is gay with birds singing

And the sky is a delicate caress;

She will come from the midst of a vast clamour

With a mist of stars about her

And great beckoning plumes of smoke

Upon her leaping horses.

And she will bend suddenly and clasp me;

She will clutch me with fierce arms

And stab me with a kiss like a wound

That bleeds slowly.

But though she will hurt me at first

In her strong gladness

She will soon soothe me gently

And cast upon me an unbreakable sleep

Softly and forever.

Richard Aldington

Aldington, came to Dorset in June of 1916 for his army training and was one of those fortunate enough to survive the conflict. Other war poets, such as Wilfred Owen, were not so lucky. Over 900,000 British servicemen perished in the four years of the war and many, many more were wounded.


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