Snippets 96. Thomas Bewick (1753-1828) is best know for his A History of British Birds, with its detailed engravings. He could perhaps be credited as the creator of the field guide. In 1820 he branched out into illustrating poetry with the absolutely charming The Youngster’s Diary, containing illustrated poems for every month of the year. We don’t often feature poetry on Windows into History, but it is worth making the occasional exception for something as delightful as this! Here is one of the November poems, The Fall of the Leaf, attributed in the book to “Dr Horne”.
See the leaves around us falling,
Dry and withered on the ground;
Thus to thoughtless mortals calling,
In a sad and solemn sound,
“Sons of Adam, (once in Eden,
When, like us, he blighted fell,)
Hear the lecture we are reading;
‘Tis, alas! the truth we tell.
Virgins, much, too much presuming
On your boasted white and red;
View us late in beauty blooming,
Number’d now among the dead.
On the tree of life eternal,
Man, let all thy hopes be staid;
Which alone, for ever vernal,
Bears a leaf that shall not fade.”