Search
  • sootallures

Walbridge in Stroud and William Wordsworth?

Down there at Walbridge, on the canal plaque,

Is a portrait of the nearby area,

From 'circa 1790'.

Stroud scarlet is stretched out on tenterhooks,

A backcloth painted in Rodborough fields,

Where a backstory can be woven and spun …

In the Year of our Lord, 1790 …

William Wordsworth arrived in France

In the year of 1790,

On the anniversary of the Bastille’s fall:

‘Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,

But to be young was very heaven!’;

Edmund Burke wrote Reflections on the Revolution in France,

Tom Paine would write Rights of Man in response;

There would be spies, and arrests for sedition,

The suspension of habeas corpus,

Cries of ‘No Pitt! No War! No King!’

The navy stood ready for war,

While the Stroud scarlet army stood at arms.

Some years later, William Wordsworth

Would write The Discharged Soldier:

‘… A mile-stone propped him; I could also ken That he was clothed in military garb, Though faded, yet entire…

He told in few plain words a soldier’s tale– That in the Tropic Islands he had served, Whence he had landed scarcely three weeks past; That on his landing he had been dismissed, And now was travelling towards his native home …’

The Tropics …

Who knows?

He might have been clad in that Stroud scarlet,

Stretched out on tenterhooks, in Rodborough fields,

An itinerant discharged soldier,

Begging as he walked the north country lanes,

Back from tropical, colonial war.

Down there at Walbridge, on the canal plaque,

Is a portrait of the nearby area,

From circa 1790,

That with a leap of imagination,

Might just link Stroudwater and the Tropics,

And Walbridge and William Wordsworth.

Stroud scarlet stretched out on tenterhooks,

A backcloth painted in Rodborough fields,

Where a backstory can be woven and spun …



23 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

I’ve just counted seventy-four conflicts, In which this country has been involved Since the start of the nineteenth century: This martial country: Is this my heritage? Is this my consequent national i

Walking the streets of Clifton, You can see the consequences Of enslavement compensation, And you can see the triangles of trade Behind the balconied facades - If you know what you’re looking for, And