Finding Victorian Poem containing a stanza about a peaceful cottage a peaceful cottage
February 17, 2009 8:11 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find a particular Victorian poem that contains a stanza depicting a peaceful cottage.

Tall order, yes, I know. Victorian poetry is all about the peaceful cottage. All I remember is that the whole poem isn't about this cottage in the woods, just the one stanza. Any takers?
posted by Lorna to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
IAAV (I am a Victorianist), and off the top of my head, the most recognizable 19th-c. poem I can think of containing a cottage is Felicia Hemans' "The Homes of England" (not quite Victorian, but in the immediate neighborhood).
posted by thomas j wise at 8:48 AM on February 17, 2009

Though it's Romantic, not Victorian, Coleridge's "Frost at Midnight" has a fairly well-known "peaceful cottage" description in its first stanza:

The Frost performs its secret ministry,
Unhelped by any wind. The owlet's cry
Came loud--and hark, again! loud as before.
The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,
Have left me to that solitude, which suits
Abstruser musings: save that at my side
My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.
'Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs
And vexes meditation with its strange
And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood,
This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood,
With all the numberless goings-on of life,
Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame
Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not;
Only that film, which fluttered on the grate,

Does that ring any bells?
posted by Hellgirl at 8:51 AM on February 17, 2009

He saw a cottage with a double coach-house,
A cottage of gentility!
And the Devil did grin, for his darling sin
Is pride that apes humility.

From "The Devil's Thoughts," another Coleridge poem.

Are you certain that your poem is Victorian? Cottages were really more of a Romantic fascination. John Clare in particular was cottage-mad.
posted by Iridic at 10:00 AM on February 17, 2009

Response by poster: "Are you certain that your poem is Victorian? Cottages were really more of a Romantic fascination"

You may be right. I thought it was in a book I have entitled Victorian Poetry but I may be wrong. To me it seems Wordsworthian.

I'm enjoying your suggestions even though no one has hit on it yet. Thank you.
posted by Lorna at 10:24 AM on February 17, 2009

There's always the Lake Isle of Innisfree.
posted by PatoPata at 11:21 AM on February 17, 2009

Lorna, can you remember any other details of the poem? Short, regular stanzas versus long, rambling ones, for example? Were there characters of any kind in the poem? Do you remember what the non-cottage-related content of the poem was about? What do you mean when you say the poem seemed "Wordsworthian" to you?

This is like CSI: Lake District, and all we need are a few more tiny scraps of clues to throw into the poetic mass spectrometer in order to solve the case...
posted by Hellgirl at 3:53 PM on February 17, 2009

Response by poster: I've found it. It is one of Wordsworth's lyrical poems called "To a Highland Girl" and it's the last 5 lines:

For I, methinks, till I grow old,
As fair before me shall behold,
As I do now, the Cabin small,
The Lake, the Bay, the Waterfall;
And Thee, the Spirit of them all!

Isn't that nice? As you can see I gave you very little to go on. Turns out it wasn't Victorian or a cottage but a cabin small.

Thanks everybody.
posted by Lorna at 4:46 PM on February 17, 2009

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