Friday, 27 January 2012

Richard Jefferies by Henry Williamson

I collect Henry Williamson's novels. This one turned up at the Car Boot Sale last weekend and I had to have it. Indeed, Williamson's assessment of Jefferies' personality from childhood made me think he could have been describing poet Edward Thomas's personal development . . . Jefferies was Thomas's first literary hero and he happily roamed the countryside which Jefferies knew and loved - that South Country which Thomas was to later write about, and indeed in 1909 he had his own biography of Jefferies published. Apparently Jefferies was a lasting influence on Edward Thomas's wife, then widow, Helen Thomas, which is displayed in her antidote to grief, "As It Was" . . . THIS is an interesting blog post on the subject.

Here is a little taster of Jefferies' observational writing from a chapter entitled The Life of the Fields:

"It was between the may and the June roses. The may bloom had fallen, and among the hawthorn boughs were the little green bunches that would feed the red-wings in autumn. High up the briars had climbed, straight and towering whils there was a thorn or an ash sapling, or a yellow-green willow, to uphold them, and then curving over towards the meadow. The buds were on them, but not yet open; it was between the may and the rose.

As the wind, wandering over the sea, takes from each wave an invisible portion, and brings to those on shore the ethereal essence of ocean, so the air lingering among the woods and hedges - green waves and billows - became full of fine atoms of summer. Swept from notched hawthorn leaves, broad-topped oak-leaves, narrow ash sprays and oval willows; from vast elm cliffs and sharp-taloned brambles under; brushed from the waving grasses and stiffening corn, the dust of the sunshine was borne along and breathed. Steeped in flower and pollen to the music of bees and birds, the stream of the atmosphere became a living thing. It was life to breathe it, for the air itself was life. The strength of the earth went up through the leaves into the wind."

Have a good weekend - I have been laid up on the sofa today with a Bug which has given me a nasty temperature and aches in every joint, but I am feeling slightly more human now.


  1. I do hope that you feel better. Bugs are a nasty thing. Rest is in order and something easy on the tummy.
    Have a wonderful, healing weekend.

  2. What a lovely excerpt from Richard Jefferies, I know his name of course but have never read any of his books. I think I must remedy that! Hope you feel better soon.

  3. I never tire of reading about the countryside, be iy Jeffries, Edward Thomas, Ronald Blythe - although I live in the country these writers enrich the way I look at it. Interesting post.
    Sorry about your bug - hope you soon feel better.

  4. I love the way Jefferies had all the time in the world to lie back in a field and consider nature, and recommend all to do the same! I wish!

  5. Lovely pastoral writing. I can quite see how Edward Thomas would have loved Jefferies. I hope to start reading some of ET`s travel writing this year.

    Hope you make a quick recovery.