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Edward Thomas - centenary year of death
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Re: Edward Thomas - centenary year of death
Apr 08, 2017, 16:25
moss wrote:
And then there is this, when he was in Cornwall....

"On every hand lies cromlech, camp, circle, hut and tumulus of the unwritten years. They are confused and mingled with the natural litter of a barren land. It is a silent Bedlam of history, a senseless cemetery or museum, amidst which we walk as animals must do when they see those valleys full of skeleton where their kind are said to go punctually to die. There are enough of the dead; they outnumber the living, and there those trite truths burst with life and drum upon the typpanum with ambiguous fatal voices. At the end of this many barrowed moor, yet not in it, there is a solitary circle of grey stones, where the cry of the past is less vociferous, less bewildering, than on the moor itself, but more intense. Nineteen tall, grey stones stand round a taller, pointed one that is heavily bowed, amidst long grass and bracken and furze. A track passes close by, but does not enter the circle; the grass is unbent except by the weight of its bloom. It bears a name that connects it with the assembling and rivalry of the bards of Britain. Here, under the sky, they met, leaning upon the stones, tall fair men of peace, but half warriors, whose songs could change ploughshares into sword. Here they met, and the growth of the grass, the perfection of the stones(except that one stoops as with age), and the silence, suggest that since the last bard left it, in robe of blue or white or green - the colours of sky and cloud and grass upon this fair day - the circle has been unmolested, and the law obeyed which forbade any but a bard to enter it........And the inscription on the chair of the bards of Beisgawen was "nothing is that is not for ever and ever" - these things and the blue sky, the white, cloudy hall of the sun, and the green bough and grass, hallowed the ancient stones, and clearer than any vision of tall bards in the morning of the world was the tranquil delight of being thus ' teased out of time' in the presence of this ancientness,....

The stone circle is Boskawenun of course.

I didn't realise the above passage was from Edward Thomas's book The South Country. Came across it last night - is preceded by this:

"The old roads dive among still more furze and bracken and bramble and foxglove, and on every side the land grows no such crop as that of grey stones. Even in the midst of occasional cornfield or weedless pasture a long grey upright stone speaks of the past. In many places men have set these stones, roughly squaring some of them, in the form of a circle or in groups of circles - and over them beats the buzzard in slow hesitating and swerving flight. In one place the work of Nature might be mistaken for that of man. On a natural hillock stands what appears to be the ruin of an irregularly heaped wall of grey rock, roughened by dark-grey lichen, build of enormous angular fragments like the masonry of a giant’s child. Near at hand, bracken, pink stonecrop, heather and bright gold tormentil soften it; but at a distance it stands black against the summer sky, touched with the pathos of man’s handiwork overthrown, yet certainly an accident of Nature. It commands Cape Cornwall and the harsh sea, and St. Just with its horned church tower. On every hand lie cromlech, camp, circle, hut and tumulus of the unwritten years ....."

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