From Lynton to Porlock

Thomas Edward Brown


From Lynton when you drive to Porlock,
Just take old Tempus by the forelock —
In any case, don't hurry; time and tide —
Of course —I know. But, where the roads divide,
Upon the moor,
Be sure
To shun the via dextra,
And choose the marvellous ride
(One half-hour extra)
That zigzags to a gate
Nigh Porlock town —O, it is great,
That strip of Channel sea,
Backed with the prime of English Arcady!
It is not that the heather rushes
In mad tumultuous flushes
(Trickling's the word I'd use);
But O, the greens and blues
And browns whereon the crimson dwells;
The buds, the bells;
The drop from arch to arch
Of pine and larch;
The scented glooms where soft sun-fainting culvers
Elude the eye,
And fox-gloves, like innumerous-celled revolvers
Shoot honey-tongued quintessence of July!

Sweet breeze that sett'st the summer buds a swaying,
Dear lambs amid the primrose meadows playing,
Let me not think
O floods, upon whose brink
The merry birds are maying,
Dream, softly dream!
O blessed mother, lead me
Unsevered from thy girdle —lead me! feed me!
I have no will but thine ;
I need not but the juice
Of elemental wine —
Perish remoter use
Of strength reserved for conflict yet to come
Let me be dumb,
As long as I may feel thy hand —
This, this is all —do ye not understand
How the great Mother mixes all our bloods
O breeze! O swaying buds!
O lambs, O primroses, O floods!

Much of Thomas Brown's work revolves around Clifton, Bristol and the West Country. Lynton sits on the north shore of Devon, not far from the notorious Porlock. It was "a man from Porlock" who knocked on the door of Samuel Taylor Coleridge one day and ended the stream of dream/conciousness which created the wonderful poem,Kubla Khan.