There is sadness, but with a quiet acceptance, in Hardy’s recall of the optimism of his ‘heydays’. He has come to an accommodation with old age. long life and a resignation which will take him content into his everlasting ‘slumber’.
Regret not me; Beneath the sunny tree I lie uncaring, slumbering peacefully.
Swift as the light I flew my faery flight; Ecstatically I moved, and feared no night.
I did not know That heydays fade and go, But deemed that what was would be always so.
I skipped at morn Between the yellowing corn, Thinking it good and glorious to be born.
I ran at eves Among the piled-up sheaves, Dreaming, “I grieve not, therefore nothing grieves.”
Now soon will come The apple, pear, and plum And hinds will sing, and autumn insects hum.
Again you will fare To cider-makings rare, And junketings; but I shall not be there.
Yet gaily sing Until the pewter ring Those songs we sang when we went gipsying.
And lightly dance Some triple-timed romance In coupled figures, and forget mischance;
And mourn not me Beneath the yellowing tree; For I shall mind not, slumbering peacefully
‘Thomas Hardy’ (1840-1928) by Walter William Ouless (National Portrait Gallery)
Readers may find it interesting to compare and contrast the lyrics of the classic Edith Piaf song . . .
As the clouds have wept on your grave Since you left this world behind, So do my tears flow When your memory brings to mind The love you had for me, Which in my lust for life I never did return, But with my careless knife Cut out the debt I owed. Left you to love alone, To suffer silently, My gratitude unknown Forever to my shame, I am the child to blame.
St. Enodoc’s Church, Trebetherick, Cornwall. The church is said to lie on the site of a cave where Enodoc lived as a hermit. It is situated among the sand dunes on the eastern bank of the River Camel estuary. Wind-driven sand has formed banks that are almost level with the roof on two sides. From the 16th century to the middle of the 19th century, the church was virtually buried by the dunes, but by 1864 the church was unearthed and the dunes were stabilized.
St. Enodoc’s Church – The grave of Sir John Betjeman. From his youth Betjeman had come to this particular area of Cornwall. He went on doing so regularly for the rest of his life. He eventually moved to live at ‘Treen’, down a quiet lane in the village of Trebetherick, where he died in May 1984.
St. Enodoc’s Church – the decorated west porch
St. Enodoc’s Church – the decorated west porch (close-up view)
Harbourside entertainment at Padstow on the River Camel estuary
The view towards Boscastle from where the River Valency meets the sea
Boscastle harbour and breakwater at the mouth of the River Valency
Boats tied up in the shelter of the stone jetty at Boscastle
The River Valency at Boscastle. Here seen after radical repairs and reconstruction of the river bed and bridge following the hugely destructive floods of 2004. An interesting description of this flood disaster can be read on Wikipedia at: Boscastle Flood
The Coastguard Station at Boscastle
The sea entrance to Boscastle on the River Valancy viewed from the hilltop to the south of the town.