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POEM "UPON HARRISTOWN" BY JOHN WINSTANLEY, 1742

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November 2009 issue of
THE BRIDGE
Kilcullen Community Magzine
 
 Upon Harristown.
 
 
From Care, from Noise, from ever'y Bustle free,
Possessing all that with my Soul agree,
Willing with soft Retirement to please
My sprightly Fancy, and my youthful Days,
Whilst others wildly do in Town reside,                            
Consuming Fortune, and advancing Pride ;
While one on Chloe looks with longing Eyes,
And for Perryna's Face another dies,
Where Plays and Stews all kinds of Vice do shew,
The Loss of Fortune, Health, and ever'y Woe,
Which Youth debauch'd too surely undergo.
 
Then far more happy I account my Lot,
The Town despising, and it's Ways forgot,
Thus far, from all its wicked nauseous Strife,
In Country live a pleasing, harmless Life,
Divert my Thoughts, indulge my waking Muse,
The first I flatter, and the last I chuse,
Some thoughts I mention, and since Muse I name,
I'll sing the Country's well deserving Fame:
Its pleasing Prospects, and its wholesome Game,
How Nature strives to beautify in Dress,
The many Charms that Harristown possess,
By Art designed a noble old Retreat,
For a wise man distinguishably Great,
Old lofty Rooms, and spacious Halls do tell,
How free he seem'd to live and to excel,
In all Things grand, inimitably well.
 
 
From different View, you many Scenes may see,
Your mind still fed with sweet Variety,
How various Scenes divert in various Ways,
And Art and Nature labour for to please.
Here lengthen'd Walks of Gravel form'd by Art,
A roving Fancy to the Mind impart,
The ravish'd Sights can scarce the End discry
Which beautifully pleasing charm the Eye
And grass and Gravel interwove are seen
And different Trees depaint a diff'rent green,
One verdant Walk does gradually arise,
And falling gently equally surprise,
And many Trees do there together grow,
And pleasing Shades to Solitude bestow,
The stately Firs do there in Rows ascend,
And Trees with Apples, loaded seem to bend ;
The Laurel blooming, and the moor Eugh,
The prickly Holly edged with Silver Hue,
The loftly Ash, the hardy Oak is there,
The one for building, t'other for the spear.
To close the scene an Iron gate doth shew,
How well the Vulcans by their skills do know,
To give a Beauty by each artful blow.
 
 
Beyond the Gate, a christal lake you see,
And walks around with Rows of Trees agree,
The finny Race this large Canal supply,
The red ey'd Tench with Fins of yellow die,
The nimble Trout,the carp bedropt with Gold,
The Silver Eels in circling Mazes roll'd,
Above the Pond, a verdant Hill ascends,
In Fields and grazing Flocks the landscape ends;
The Ground declining lessens then your View,
By walking further you're surprised a-new,
Under a nodding bank the Liffey glides,
And forms meanders with its rapid Tides,
The Earth with Water, Trees with both combine,
To please the Sense, and make a Prospect shine,
Hills peep o'er Hills, and Fields and Fields arise,
And Towns and Groves the distant Scene supplies
Till your Sight's left in Fleecy Clouds and Skies.
 
 
 
So much for Prospects, Game's the other Part,
To have an equal Share in Fancy and in Art.
Here wherring Partridge are in Covies found,
The lonely Woodcock, and the Larks that rise,
And singing sweetly echo all the Skies.
The clam'rous Plover, and the whistling Quail,
The watchful Snipe, and the hoarse creaking Rail.
The Fowler here of Game can never fail.
The fearful Hare in thickest Covert lies,
But when she hears the Dogs, approaching Cries,
They still pursue and scent out ever'y Trace,
Each Trick, each Maze, each artful Double trees,
To show her Fate, alas in vain, she dies.
 
Of all the Sports that diff'rent Fancies chuse
Hunting most pleases, and delights my Muse
For Health of life, the Relish and the Bliss,
Doth sympathize, and is preserv'd by this;
Hunting was surely by the Gods design'd,
It clears one's spirits, and unbends our mind,
Corrects the ills a slothful Life bestow,
And makes the Blood thro' purer Channels flow,
With this Diversion ,and this Retreat,
Pleased with some Friends, contented with my State,
I'd weave awhile my Thoughts of being great.
 
 
An original copy of the volume of poetry may be consulted in the
National Library in Kildare Street in Dublin.
 

Sean Landers sent us this poem "Upon Harristown" written by Dublin poet John Winstanley published in 1742. This poem celebrates the beauty of Kilcullen in a bygone age.  The poem is included in the November issue of THE BRIDGE, the Kilcullen Community Magazine.Our thanks to Sean


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