Rivers Run

Rivers Run

Last month’s Story about the Trout Inn prompted a flurry of peacock-, beer-, and river-related reminiscence – including this lyrical passage:

And once we rowed together up the river
To many-gated Godstow, where the stream
Splits, and upon a tongue of land there stands
An Inn with willow bowers: it is a spot
Where still the flavour of old Merry England
Lingers: And softly flowed the silver Thames
Beside the garden, while we fed the fish.
There ‘mid the twilight and the trellised roses
We sang the ballad of fair Rosamund:
And when at last we loosed the boat, we saw
Above the ruined Nunnery where she sleeps
A star: and from the reeds a mournful gust
Whispered and rippled around the shallow prow
And passed: and all was quiet.

The poem (by someone we confess we had never heard of: Gascoigne Mackie) features in that richest and most interesting of aquatic websites, Where Thames Smooth Waters Glide, compiled by the Reverend John Eade.

More familiar to modern ears is the liquid verse of Alice Oswald, Oxford University’s 46th Professor of Poetry. One of her superb public lectures (delivered during Lockdown and available online) is entitled An Interview with Water. 

And for prose, who better than Peter Ackroyd? In his classic book Thames: Sacred River (p.413) he notes: ”There is a deep and irradiant blue in the depths of the water before Godstow Bridge.”

All of which is by way of pretext: a reminder of last year’s Morris Oxford post, A River Runs Through It, and an excuse to feature this uplifting, summery video from the Jericho Singers, directed by their multi-talented choir-leader, Steph Pirrie:

Bon voyage!