Saturday, 17 December 2011

Ongar: A Reverie

An extract from ‘An Anthology of Essex, published in 1911.

Oh quaint old Essex town!  Your sheltered ways
Have fared so gently in this vale of tears;
That looking back with thought of other days,
One sees no change to mark the passing years.
I hear the same wind whisp’ring thro’ the trees,
Where Livingstone once wandered with his books:
I hear the same low murmur of the bees,
And recognise the cawing of the rooks.

Oh peaceful Essex town!  you’re very old;
The Romans built within your lines a camp;
Your stones have oft resounded, so I’m told,
With Caesar’s sturdy warriors’ martial tramp:
I hear their shouts re-echo in the breeze;
Ye Britons, read about them in your books;
The sounds of Roman axe and falling trees
Are heard above the cawing of the rooks.

Oh, quiet old Ongar town!  I’ve heard it said
When Cromwell and his Ironsides held their sway,
That many of your sons both fought and bled
To help the King they loved to win the day.
I heard the cry ‘For Cromwell and the Lord!’
Whilst students donned the helm and closed their books,
The sound of war’s alarms, the clash of pike and sword
Were heard above the cawing of the rooks.

Some day, I hope my ship will come to town,
And bring to me the fortune overdue;
I’ll buy a little cot and settle down,
And make my home, old Ongar town, with you.
I’ll rise each day to greet the early dawn,
And dawdle with my fishing and my books;
I’ll wander through the cornfields in the morn,
And listen to the cawing of the rooks.

A.L.M. Loughton Gazette, April 1910.

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