Poem of the Week: Wordsworth at Plas Newydd

Several of us will be heading back to Llangollen next week for further research, and so “Poem of the Week” is heading that way as well.Dedicated readers of this blog (surely they are legion!) will recall Anna Seward’s Llangollen Vale. Here’s a rather briefer tribute from William Wordsworth, who visited the Ladies of Llangollen in 1824. The sonnet is basically an exercise in onomastics, pondering the origins of the name of the nearby Glyn Myfyr and offering up a flattering new toponym for the vale in which Plas Newydd is situated. It didn’t catch on.

To Lady Eleanor Butler and the Honourable Miss Ponsonby,
Composed in the grounds of Plas-Newydd, Llangollen

A stream to mingle with your favorite Dee
Along the Vale of Meditation flows;
So styled by those fierce Britons, pleased to see
In Nature’s face the expression of repose,
Or, haply there some pious Hermit chose
To live and die — the peace of Heaven his aim,
To whome the wild sequestered region owes
At this late day, its sanctifying name.
Glyn Cafaillgaroch, in the Cambrian tongue,
In ours the Vale of Friendship, let this spot
Be nam’d, where faithful to a low roof’d Cot
On Deva’s banks, ye have abode so long,
Sisters in love, a love allowed to climb
Ev’n on this earth, above the reach of time.