T.E. Brown (1830-1897), Clifton
I'm here at Clifton, grinding at the mill
My feet for thrice nine barren years have trod;
But there are rocks and waves at Scarlett still,
And gorse runs riot in Glen Chass—thank God!
Alert, I seek exactitude of rule,
I step, and square my shoulders with the squad;
But there are blaeberries on old Barrule,
And Langness has its heather still—thank God!
There is no silence here: the truculent quack
Insists with acrid shriek my ears to prod,
And, if I stop them, fumes; but there's no lack
Of silence still on Carraghyn—thank God!
Pragmatic fibs surround my soul, and bate it
With measured phrase, that asks the assenting nod;
I rise, and say the bitter thing, and hate it—
But Wordsworth's castle's still at Peel—thank God!
O broken life! O wretched bits of being,
Unrhythmic, patched, the even and the odd!
But Bradda still has lichens worth the seeing,
And thunder in her caves—thank God! thank God!
Brown started teaching at Clifton College (Bristol) in 1863, so the date of this poem is approximately 1890 ("thrice nine barren years"). The other places mentioned are on the Isle of Man, where Brown was born.