The Isle of Wight
Ancients of the earth
'The climb up from the tunnel entrance is worth it!' exclaimed Quintin. 'Look at this beautiful view! Did you see the Bronze Age round barrow we passed? Its been there for four thousand years.'
'And will be there for another four thousand if I have my way,' replied Miranda, gazing over in the opposite direction towards the Longstone.
They both took long, deep breaths as they watched a hang-glider soaring gracefully in the sky above the chalk downs and then Miranda looked towards the south where the bright fabric of the kites of wind-surfers moved playfully beyond low cliffs of clay, sand and mottled marl near the village of Brook.
Alfred Lord Tennyson lived here when he was Poet Laureate in Victorian times,' she said, 'over where the Farringford is now, near Freshwater Bay.
'I can imagine him walking here, composing a poem,' said Quintin. 'In his cape and his big floppy hat, conversing with Julia Camaron about photography, and making ready for the long walk back to the bay. Perhaps his ghost is over by that barrow right now.'
'Well,' said Miranda, 'were it not a pleasant thing
to fall asleep with all one's friends;
to pass with all our social ties
to silence from the paths of men;
and every hundred years to rise
and learn the world, and sleep again;
to sleep thro' terms of mighty wars,
and wake on science grown to more,
on secrets of the brain, the stars,
as wild as aught of fairy lore;
and all that else the years will show,
the Poet-forms of stronger hours,
the vast Republics that may grow,
the Federations and the Powers;
titanic forces taking birth
in divers seasons, divers climes;
for we are Ancients of the earth,
and in the morning of the times.
Excerpt from The Day-Dream, by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
'These words,' replied Quintin, 'are like the rest,
no certain clearness, but at best
a vague suspicion of the breast.
'I cannot make this matter plain,
but I would shoot, howe'er in vain
a random arrow from the brain.
'It may be that no life is found,
which only to one engine bound
falls off, but cycles always round.
'As old mythologies relate,
some draught of Lethe might await
the slipping thro' from state to state.'
Excerpt from The Two Voices, by Alfred Lord Tennyson.