Lines Supposed to Have Been Written on Saint Michael's Mount, Cornwall

NOTES

1 "Ilka," or Either.
2 "Gramarchy," or Witchcraft.
3"Hest," or Help. This word is sometimes taken in the same sense as 'hie," or away.
4 It is closely related, in one of the strange stories current of this Mount, that a guardian spirit presides over its safety, and that the Phoœnicians* always offered up sacrifices immediately on their landing; this place being renowned for traffic in the most distant ages. It has even been affirmed, that the spirit was seen on the highest point of the rock encircled with mist, clad in a white vestment, having his head bound round with sea weeds and heath flowers.
5 "Choran," the same as Corenius.

*We are much obliged to our ingenious Correspondent for the continuation, if it can be so termed, of the poem it commends. Truth, it has been said, has frequently been found at the bottom of legends; and with these no place abounds so much as Cornwall: nor are there any that are more interesting, from the circumstance of its inhabitants having had so early a connexion with the continent by means of the Phoœnicians, in consequence of which, BRITISH SUPERSTITION, and, above the rest, Cornish credulity, took a new form from heathen mythology, different, indeed, from the classical, but still in its images grand, and its ideas picturesque; when this propension again, in the first ages, the dawn, as may be said of Christianity, seized upon the spirits of an unlettered and an unpolished people, it diverged into all those mental eccentricities, which sometimes starting from real objects; St. Michael's Mount for instance, have produced such moral extravagancies, and, during their domination, had such universal influence. —EDITOR

 
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Lines Supposed to Have Been Written on Saint Michael's Mount, Cornwall

by: J. H. (Author)

To the Editor of the European Magazine.

I TAKE the liberty of sending you the following poem, supposed to have been written on Saint Michael's Mount, Cornwall; an account of which singular and romantic place has appeared in a recent Number of your Magazine, written in a very pleasing and satisfactory manner.

You will perceive I have availed myself of some ancient phraseology in the course of the piece, and have had recourse, in one or two instances, to the many old legends relating to this high rock. From one of them it seems, that the giant Choran, or Corenius, who came into Britain with Brute, had Cornwall allotted to him as his share of the country; and this mount, in particular, was his favourite residence; where, in a dreary cavern of great depth, and which was supposed to contain many enchantments, he lived the terror and wonder of our barbarous ancestors.

Perhaps it may be necessary to add, that a part of the poem was printed, about a year back, in one of the morning papers: indeed, it was reading the before mentioned elegant and just description of this ancient fortress that gave me the idea of finishing it in its present form; which, if you consider worthy [of] your Magazine, I shall feel greatly obliged by its insertion.

I remain, sir,

Your very humble servant,     J. H.


 

LINES,
       Supposed to have been written on
SAINT MICHAEL'S MOUNT, CORNWALL


BENEATH this shelving, moss-clad seat,
Of old Corenius' lov'd retreat,
Shut out from Bodmin's murky plain,
And ev'ry rude unsocial swain,
I'll sit, and ponder o'er the lore
Of ilka1 Chaucer, or old Gower;
Or farther yet, in fairy days,
When Arthur's knights provok'd the lays—
In battle fray or tournament,
With falchions huge, and bows strong bent;
When feudal strife and chivalry,
Mix'd with dread thoughts of gramarchy,2
Alike inflame'd the warrior's breast,
And bade him seek for fairies hest. 3
Fill'd with such thoughts, my ravish'd sense
Shall drive each plaguey care far hence;
And whilst the dazzling sun-beams play
On the blue waters of the bay,
From this high clift, where ravens soar,
I'll hearken to the billows roar,
Or hold dark converse with the sprite
That guards ST. MICHAEL's holy height. 4
Him will I call from his deep cell
Where Arthur's giant warriors dwell;
And by the wondrous charms of yore,
Thy fate, O sacred Mount! explore.
     But hold! a storm's approaching nigh—
The wild sea birds are flutt'ring by—
Close o'er old Choran's aged tower5
The tempest sweeps its sleety shower;
And, thund'ring from the cliffs afar,
Is heard the mighty elemental war.