Micah Clarke

' Micah Clarke '  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel  about the  Monmouth Rebellion from 1889.

H.M.Brock  illustration 1903 edition 

I am very grateful to the 'ECW  & Stuart era Fiction' Facebook group  for directing me to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel  'Micah Clarke- His Statement As Made To His Three Grandchildren Joseph, Gervais, and Rueben During The Hard Winter of 1734'.

The images are taken from the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia website and their use is much appreciated

''Micah Clarke' is a fictionalised account of a young veteran of the doomed 1685 West Country rebellion led by the Duke of Monmouth against (Roman Catholic) James II ascending the throne of upon the death of Charles II.

Micah Clarke, born in Havant, remains in the district and heads west, which offers more scope for adventure, as he joins the rebellion when it is well underway. It's a strictly boys tale, women do not feature apart …

Andrew Marvell ' Horatian Ode' -written 1650

Andrew Marvell 'Horation Ode  upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland '

                     Returning to Andrew Marvell ( 31st March 1621- 16th August 1678), thought that would be helpful to look at 'An Horation Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland' , written in 1650, but can find no record of it ever being published until after the poet's death.

                                           Picture of Andrew Marvell courtesy Wikipedia

                    There are many fascinating aspects to this poem. The use of Rome as a major political and cultural reference point during the Commonwealth for one. Moreover, Cromwell's Irish campaign from 15th August 1649- 26th May 1650 evokes such fierce reactions. In fact upon his return, Cromwell was just about to invade Scotland, which led to a final break between Cromwell and Sir Thomas Fairfax.

 But what is most striking is the poem's portrayal of Cromwell as some dynamic force of nature, somehow above moral an…

Richard Lovelace

Richard Lovelace - Kent Cavalier Poet

Image courtesy of Noel Craggs, South-East History Boards

                            I am always fascinated by the use of poetry on war memorials. Discovered, thanks to a discussion on the South East History Boards that some lines by Richard Lovelace, the Cavalier Poet,
 ( 1618-1658 ) from the poem 'Grasshopper', are quoted on a plaque placed on a stone to mark 'The last stand of the Royalist Defenders of Maidstone' , facing  General Fairfax storming of the city on 1st June 1648. This phase of the Second Civil War was a precursor to the Siege of Colchester already covered by this blog..The lines are in fact the tenth and last verse of 'The Grass-hopper '

Thus richer then untempted Kings are we, 
    That asking nothing, nothing need : 
Though Lord of all what Seas imbrace ; yet he 
    That wants himselfe, is poore indeed. 

The memorial plaque goes on to read;

An extract from 'The Grassho…

John Milton,Lord Fairfax, and the Siege of Colchester 1648

Happy New Year to all blog readers. Following the interview with Mark Vine, author of the Crabchurch Conspiracy, I will be attending the Crabchurch Conspiracy Weekend from March 2nd-4th 2018 over in Weymouth .

                                John Milton ( 1608- 1674)
                                      'Lord Fairfax and the Siege of Colchester' sonnet XV

 Portrait of John Milton, (c.1639) National Portrait Gallery

                         John Milton ( 1608- 1674)
                                      'Lord Fairfax and the Siege of Colchester' sonnet XV

              Diane Purkiss  stated that  the appearance of  John Milton's 'Paradise Lost '  was  "Among the war's most enduring consequences " ( Appendix 'Questions & Answers' to 'The English Civil War- A People's History - 2006) . The same book also referenced a far lesser known Milton poem- 'Fairfax at the Siege of Colchester', a piece  that has fascinated me on tw…

James Duke of Monmouth poem -Edmund Waller

  James Duke of Monmouth portrayed in poetry Part I 
                  On the Duke of Monmouth's Expedition Into Scotland In The Summer Solstice 1679' by Edmund Waller

'        James Duke of Monmouth in Garter Robes' by Sir Peter Lely, courtesy of 

                        Edmund Waller was born in 1606, educated at Eton and Kings College Cambridge, and presented at the Court of King James when he was 18.He became an MP by 1624, and leaned more towards the Parliamentarian side during the disputes of Charles I reign. However once war broke out in 1642,  Waller was in favour of a negotiated settlement  between Parliament and  the King. in 1643, he was arrested for his part in a conspiracy to seize London for Charles I.

Waller had no qualms about bribing fellow MPs and readily implicated his co-conspirators. He had to pay over some £10,000, spent 18 months in the Tower of London, before going into exile in 1644. A collection of his poems was published …

Aphra Behn and the Pastoral Ideal

Aphra Behn - 'The Golden Age' ( A pastoral poem)

(1640- 1689)

Image of Aphra Behn gratefully uploaded from the website 

“Blest age when  ev'ry purling stream Ran undistrubed and clear, When no scorned shepherds on your banks were seen, Tortured by love, by jealousy, or fear; When an eternal Spring dressed ev'ry bough And blossoms fell, by new ones dispossessed ".......

Aphra Behn ‘s poem ‘’The Golden Age’ was published in 1684 featured in  a collection titled ‘Poems for all Occasions-With A Voyage to the Island of Love’. The poem is partly based on an unidentified French work. Aphra Behn  eulogises an unplaced time and land where nature is benign and humanity lives out a harmonious existence.  

The concept of a mythical past is at least as old as Greek antiquity. What so intriguing about Aphra Behn is that what seems to have triggered the poem is a visit to the English colony of Suriname rather than reading the classics.

" Then no rough sound of w…

Interview with Mark Vine, author of 'The Crabchurch Conspiracy'

The Crabchurch Conspiracy 1645- The

True Story of Dorset’s Bloodiest Secret.

 I  first met Mark Vine- author of ‘The Crabchurch Conspiracy’ - in the late 1970s  Delighted to got hold of the kindle version,  complete with an introduction by Professor Ronald Hutton.
In 1645, several royalist plotters within the twin towns of Weymouth and Melcombe on the Dorset coast conspired to deliver the ports back into the control of King Charles 1. It has been suggested that he needed a safe south coast port at which to land a huge French army which he hoped would deliver a decisive blow and end the resistance of the Parliamentarians whom he had been fighting for almost three years.
The conspirator’s plans were almost successful, but their intended victim, Colonel William Sydenham, commander of the Parliamentary garrison and MP for Melcombe, managed to get most of his force into that town, though he lost a much loved and respected brother and fellow soldier, Franci…