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West Country Poets

ELIZA DOWN (fl. 1878)

Miss DOWN was an elderly spinster in rather humble life, who resided at Torrington until her death, which took place some ten or twelve years since.

She was encouraged and assisted in her literary labours by the late Mr. W. F. ROCK, who also edited her first book of poems, 'Kenwith Castle, and other Poems,' published in 1878.  This volume was dedicated 'To Colonel Palmer, of Torrington, Devon, as a slight tribute of gratitude and esteem.'  She sunsequently published another volume of poems, 'Messerio,' but died before it was fully issued.  Appended to 'Kenwith Castle' is a long list of subscribers, headed by her Majesty the Queen, and nearly all the leading nobility of North Devon.  We append a short poem from 'Kenwith Castle' as an illustration of her powers as a versifier:

BALDER

Balder the beautiful in Asgard fell;
  Him did all living things swear not to harm;
All trees, all birds, all bests were under spell,
  All earth and air owned the great charm!

[. . . 18 more verses in the same vein . . . ]

Transcribed by Sandra Windeatt from: Wright, W.H.K., (1896) West-Country Poets:  Their Lives and Works. London: Elliot Stock, pp.156-7.

Last updated 22 Jul 2011 - Brian Randell.

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