footprints of former men in far cornwallSeries:
INTRODUCTION IF you had found your way during the mid-fifties of last century to the remote parish of Morwenstow in North Cornwall, you might have met a remarkable figure coming from the vicarage, the house with the church-tower chimneys-a whim of the vicar-that stood in the combe beneath Morwenstows own church of the Norman arches. The figure would have been Hawker himself, Robert Stephen Hawker, a tall, burly man in middle age, darkeyed and white-haired, wearing a brimless hat, a claret coloured tail-coat over a fishermans blue jersey with a small red cross woven into its side, and fishermans waders that reached above the knee. It was an extraordinary costume for an extraordinary man-a man touched with a wild, gusty genius that hurtled through his work like an Atlantic gale across the Northern coast. Hawker must be always Hawker of Morwenstow. Hc wears the name of the parish as a peer his full title. Certainly none would have disputed his lordship at a day when Morwenstow and its five miles of cliff were far from the world, and its vicarage an eagles nest above the Cornish sea. Few men have left so sharp an impress upon their regions. Hawker was Plymothian by birth and parentage but just as in more recent times nobody thought of thc Manchester-born Earl Lloyd-George as a Lancastrian, so nobody is likely to take from Hawker his Cornish laurel. He wrote The Song of the Western Mei Trela way which was accepted at first as wholly an old ballad. And in the apostrophe from The Quest of the Sangraal, noblest of Arthurian poems, the king calls thus upan his native Cornwall Ah native Cornwall throned upon the hills, Thy moorland pathways worn by Angel feet, Thy streams that march in music to the sea Mid Oceans merry noise, his billowy laugh Hawker, born in December, 1803, the son of a Plymouth doctor who was afterwards ordained, came to Morwenstow in 1834 and remained its vicar until death. Ten years before his arrival, and at the age of twenty, he had married as his first wife Charlotte Ians, who was twenty-one years his senior. It proved to be a richly happy marriage. Hawkers life at Morwenstow was one he would have wished. The isolation of the place, its wealth of tradition, the splendour of its coast, with the height of Hennacliff and the Atlantic seas that rolled away to Labrador everything here was in key with Hawkers romantic, imaginative temperament. He had the companionship of his wife he had his house, his glebe, his pound a day he had the care of a strange, wild parish..... --This text refers to the Paperback edition. Show more
cornish ballads other poemsSeries:
Originally published in 1898. This volume from the Cornell University Library's print collections was scanned on an APT BookScan and converted to JPG 2000 format by Kirtas Technologies. All titles scanned cover to cover and pages may include marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition. Show more
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