From Clee to heaven the beacon burnsFriday, July 19, 2019
|Rosa 'Shropshire Lad' 19 July 2019|
Today when I was watering my lane garden I noticed the two blooms of the English Rose Rosa ‘Shropshire Lad’ I noticed a couple of things. One was that the roses themselves were sturdy in their centre. This meant that I could scan them without an elaborate system of suspending them over my scanner without any part of the rose touching the glass. The other detail was how handsomely red (a feature of all roses) the new leaf growth was.
Years ago I went on a media trip to Shropshire and I prepared myself by reading Houseman’s famous poem. Today (something else I noticed) is that the first part of his poem is dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria. I find it always amazing how looking at a rose can conjure so much literary history and just plain history.
A Shropshire Lad
1: From Clee to heaven the beacon burns
By A. E. Housman
From Clee to heaven the beacon burns,
The shires have seen it plain,
From north and south the sign returns
And beacons burn again.
Look left, look right, the hills are bright,
The dales are light between,
Because 'tis fifty years to-night
That God has saved the Queen.
Now, when the flame they watch not towers
About the soil they trod,
Lads, we'll remember friends of ours
Who shared the work with God.
To skies that knit their heartstrings right,
To fields that bred them brave,
The saviours come not home to-night:
Themselves they could not save.
It dawns in Asia, tombstones show
And Shropshire names are read;
And the Nile spills his overflow
Beside the Severn's dead.
We pledge in peace by farm and town
The Queen they served in war,
And fire the beacons up and down
The land they perished for.
"God save the Queen" we living sing,
From height to height 'tis heard;
And with the rest your voices ring,
Lads of the Fifty-third.
Oh, God will save her, fear you not:
Be you the men you've been,
Get you the sons your fathers got,
And God will save the Queen.