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Lewesdon Hill – 1788

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Lewesdon Hill lies poised like a wooded and mysterious Mount Parnassus above the small West Dorset village of Stoke Abbot. Lewesdon Hill was the poem first published in 1788 with instant success. The author, William Crowe, 1745-1892, the son of a carpenter, was rector of Stoke Abbot, Public Orator at Oxford University and a Fellow of New College. A learned man with a keen eye for the classics, he takes the reader to the summit on a May morning and describes the landscape, as well as the finer points of Dorset smuggling techniques and the famous wreck of the East Indiaman, the Halsewell, near Worth Matravers in 1786.

The real importance of Lewesdon Hill is that it is a useful stepping stone, bridging the Augustan and Romantic periods. The poem was much admired by William Wordsworth who lived in the area for two years with his sister Dorothy at Racedown House. Coleridge stayed with them and walked the hills in June 1797. Both men were inspired by the poem and referred to it in later years.

This hidden gem of Dorset literature is now reprinted in facsimile form. The introduction by poet and historian James Crowden makes the whole poem come alive and adds greatly to our knowledge of William Crowe, a remarkable man with many eccentricities of his own.

An essential book for anyone interested in Dorset, the origins of the Romantic movement and the Oxford literary world of the late 18th century.

Additional information

Weight 0.2 kg
Dimensions 23 × 19 × 2 cm

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