Hark, lovers of poems and Peaks! Today is National Poetry Day, so let’s celebrate this beautiful place inspiring people to write beautiful words by highlighting some of the Peak District’s most poetic residents and visitors.
For centuries the Peak District has attracted many creatives; not least of all poets. From Samuel Johnson to D. H. Lawrence, many famous wordsmiths have lived, stayed and admired the same scenery that we ourselves can ramble through today.
In fact, it is said that a wide-eyed young Lord Byron once called Matlock Bath ‘Little Switzerland’, after being awestruck with the view!
Above: Matlock’s romantic scenery… do you think it still has a touch of Switzerland?
So, we’ve put together a little selection of poems that have an association with these glorious lands…
Let’s first have a little Thomas Moore, who was an Irish poet who lived in the little village of Mayfield, near Ashbourne. Here is one of his best-known poems, ‘The Last Rose of Summer’ written in 1805:
Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
To give sigh for sigh.
I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one!
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o’er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.
So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from Love’s shining circle
The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie withered
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?
Above: Ashbourne’s quaint town
As previously mentioned, Lord Byron is known to have visited and reveled in the sights of the Peaks, and Thomas Moore was in fact his good friend and he often stayed at his rural cottage home in Upper Mayfield. So, here is the Lord’s most famous poetic piece, ‘And Thou art Dead, As Young and Fair’:
The flower in ripen’d bloom unmatch’d
Must fall the earliest prey;
Though by no hand untimely snatch’d,
The leaves must drop away:
And yet it were a greater grief
To watch it withering, leaf by leaf,
Than see it pluck’d to-day;
Since earthly eye but ill can bear
To trace the change to foul from fair.
Well, that’s all the Romantic poetry we can squeeze into this blog post, but if you have felt urge to write down a sonnet or poem whilst in the Peak District we would love to hear it!