Thursday, 10 January 2013

Arncliffe Wood, Egton

Arncliffe Wood, Egton.

It is a pleasant privilege to roam
From Glaisdale Station down to Egton Bridge,
Then cross the Esk, returning up the ridge,
And o’er that arch reminding us the home
Of Egton’s worthy Beggar-Boy was nigh.* 5
Those woods for Arden’s Forest might be ta’en,—
For her one half expects to meet again
The banish’d Duke and Nobles, and hear sigh
The melancholy Jacques: Touchstone may be
With Audrey and with Martext chatting near: 10
Honest Old Adam may full soon appear,
And Rosalind, and Celia we may see—
Phoebe, Orlando, Amiens, all be there,
Just As You Like It in their joys to share.

There only needs deer feeding ’neath the trees 15
To make this wood all that my soul could wish;
And pleasant ’t is to watch the nimble fish
Rising i’ the clear Esk river. How the breeze
Comes wooingly to my parch’d hands and brow,
Fragrant with many perfumes! Wild rasps here 20
Offer their tempting fruit; so do not fear
Our out-door luncheon shall lack dessert too.
Here flowers of many sorts their petals show,
And various insects are upon the wing;
Sweetly the birds in Nature’s concert sing, 25
And here the wild-sage most delights to grow.
They who once ramble this delightful spot
Must find much beauty ne’er to be forgot.

In such a healthy district, public parks
Are quite unnecessary. In the crowded town, 30
Where love of Nature seems quite trampled down,
There they are needed; for the cheerful larks
Ne’er carol overhead; the thrushes’ songs
Salute us not; nor bees upon the wing;
Nor whins or broom or heather blossoming 35
Delight the eye. To all they here belong,
With many blessings, as we wander here.
Yea, ’t is a glorious privilege to roam
Among such scenes. For years I’ve loved to come
To breathe this unpolluted atmosphere: 40
And when my thoughts revert to all ’s good,
I often seem once more to roam in Arncliffe Wood.

George Markham Tweddell

* Beggar’s Bridge, called in a perambulation of 1776 by the name of “Ferris
Bridge,” after its founder, Thomas Ferries, who rose to be a wealthy and
benevolent Alderman of Hull. See The People’s History of Cleveland &c.

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