The Suffolk Garland
In the year 1818 a book of poetry was published in Ipswich called “The Suffolk Garland or East Country Minstrel” The editor of that book, The Rev. James Ford, probably wrote the following verses as most of the other verses in the book are credited to their authors.
ADDRESS TO THE RIVER GIPPIN
Meandering Gippin, loveliest stream
That ever roll’d its limpid flood
Through many a rich sequestered mead,
And many an overhanging wood,
I owe thee much; thy gentle tide
Deserves what I can ne’er bestow
To flow along immortal lines,
As sweetly as thy waters flow.
O! had I those fame-giving powers,
Which Collins or which Gray may claim,
Poets unborn should haunt thy springs,
And grace their poems with thy name.
Oft, when above the eastern clouds
The sun hath peer’d in glorious pride,
Rapt in some sweet poetic dream,
I have wander’d by thy willowy side,
And, while the linnet and the thrush
Have warbled sweet their wood-notes wild,
Indulg’d the scene that fancy ting’d
And many a fragrant hour beguil’d
Oft, in the fervid blaze of noon
Sinking beneath the sultry gleam,
I’ve plung’d with Hope’s impatient spring,
In thy invigorating stream;
Plung’d-and, while sporting in thy waves,
Derided disappointed Pride;
And with the vile and stagnant bath
Compar’d thy pure translucent tide.
Oft, too, in summer’s evening mild
I’ve glided by thy bending shores,
Wafted along by gentle gales,
Or speeded by the dashing oars:
Till winding by some craggy steep,
With spreading foliage richly crown’d
I’ve slack’d the Nautilus’s course,
To gaze upon the scenery round;
While not a murmur hath disturb’d
The evening calm, serenely still,
Save, now and then, the woodman’s axe,
And, now and then, the liquid trill.
Farewell, lorn stream, a long farewell!
Fled are those charms these sighs deplore:
Those virgin charms, which rifled once,
Are doom’d, alas! to bloom no more.
The author appears to be lamenting the fact that the Gipping was, by the time he wrote these lines, a navigable canal and he could no longer swim in it or enjoy it’s meandering course through Suffolk.
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