From ‘Shugborough Eclogues’

by Grevel Lindop

This is the gem you cut, Thomas Anson,
from emerald forest and sheer water
lightflooded on a still spring day like diamond,
a white house rounded like a cabochon
curved to its shadowed setting, and a garden
that melts to woods and fields, a truce
with wilderness. Arcadia has no time
but its own season, spring –
when all things are possible.
And this was your Arcadia: a phrase
From some Greek poet, Theocritus perhaps
with his ‘full threshing-floor’ and ‘canopy
of green leaves’; Virgil’s line about ‘cold springs,
woodlands and soft meadows’ –
words like a seed-crystal dropped
into the saturate solution
that was your mind, blend of philosophy,
ideal politics and peace.
Good farming, a republic
of shepherds and their friends,
temples half-hidden in the forest groves,
Reason in awe of Nature’s majesty –
a tranquil Zodiac overarching farms
lamplit at evening, lullaby’d by sheep
and watched all night by the observant stars.


Select ‘listen in browser’ or ‘play’ play to listen to Shugborough Eclogues

Download & Print

GLI was born in Liverpool and educated at Oxford, where I read English. When Carcanet began publishing pamphlets, my first booklet of poems, Against the Sea, was among the earliest things they published. I have had a long and happy relationship with Carcanet Press and its magazine, PN Review, ever since.

I moved to Manchester (where I still live) to lecture at the University, ending (30 years later) as Professor of Romantic and Early Victorian Studies. I left the University finally in 2001 to work as a freelance writer. Since then I’ve published not only poetry but also biography and travel, and have written in a range of magazines on poetry, biography, Romantic literature, fiction, exhibitions and  theatre. I’ve also made a number of documentaries for Radio 4.

 I believe that for the practice of poetry or any other art, or even for living a reasonably sane life, it is vital to have contact with the ‘deep imagination’ – the place where our individual insight and creativity connect with universal archetypes and spiritual dimensions. – Grevel