For a tablet at Penshurst

Robert Southey

Are days of old familiar to thy mind,
O Reader? Hast thou let the midnight hour
Pass unperceived, whilst thou in fancy lived
With high-born beauties and enamour'd chiefs,
Sharing their hopes, and with a breathless joy
Whose expectation touch'd the verge of pain,
Following their dangerous fortunes? If such lore
Hath ever thrill'd thy bosom, thou wilt tread,
As with a pilgrim's reverential thoughts,
The groves of Penshurst. Sidney here was born.
Sidney, than whom no gentler, braver man
His own delightful genius ever feign'd,
Illustrating the vales of Arcady
With courteous courage and with loyal loves.
Upon his natal day an acorn here
Was planted: it grew up a stately oak,
And in the beauty of its strength it stood
And flourish'd, when his perishable part
Had moulder'd, dust to dust. That stately oak
Itself hath moulder'd now, but Sidney's fame
Endureth in his own immortal works

The stately home of Penshurst was the ancestral home of the Sidney family.

The house dates from 1341 and was considerably enlarged in the sixteenth century by William Sidney, father of the heroic "Renaissance Man" Sir Philip Sidney, subject of Southey's poem.

The house has been used as a set in films including The Princess Bride and The Other Boleyn Girl.

Ben Jonson wrote the great poem about the house - To Penshurst.

Main Location:

Penshurst Place