Snippets 99. In the previous Snippet we looked at a quote from Richard Le Gallienne’s Travels in England. The book is dedicated to William Sharp, with the following poem:
Will, you have travelled far and wide
On many a foreign country-side,
Tell me if you have fairer found
Than honeysuckled English ground;
Or did you, all the journey through,
Find such a friend, dear Will – as you?
William Sharp, to whom the book and this lovely little poem is dedicated, was a Scottish poet and writer who also wrote novels under the pseudonym Fiona Macleod (a fact which was unknown during his lifetime). He did indeed “travel far and wide”, and used his travels as inspiration for some of his poetry. One such collection of poetry was Earth’s Voices, published in 1884, which was inspired by nature all over the world. The suggestion Le Gallienne is clearly making with his dedication is that Sharp might have found British nature to be the most beautiful in the world and there is some indication of this in Sharp’s poetry. Whilst his poems about nature abroad are full of wonder, such as his reflections on mountains and great rivers such as the Nile and the Amazon, it is in my opinion his poetry about a more simple subject such as The Field Mouse that contains the greatest and truest beauty.
The Field Mouse
When the moon shines o’er the corn,
And the beetle drones his horn,
And the flittermice swift fly,
And the nightjars swooping cry,
And the young hares run and leap,
We waken from our sleep.
And we climb with tiny feet
And we munch the green corn sweet,
With startled eyes for fear
The white owl should fly near,
Or long slim weasel spring
Upon us where we swing.
We do no hurt at all:
Is there not room for all
Within the happy world?
All day we lie close curled
In drowsy sleep, nor rise
Till through the dusky skies
The moon shines o’er the corn,
And the beetle drones his horn.
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