The Hackthorn Poem



January 1910


Oh! Hackthorn, village of my birth,

Place of early joy and mirth,

Without a river or mountain vale,

Just one small stream, but ne’er a dale;

A wooded park with ancient hall,

And rush-grown lake serenely small.


On higher ground a church doth stand

As tho, ‘twere built to awe the land;

But truth to tell, you fain must know

Beneath its portals, good folk go

To worship and to say their prayers

In accents low, so true are theirs.


Outside the church with tombstones grim

Marking the place with text and hymn,

Numbered my Father among those who lay

Crumbling away in the cold, cold clay;

Tho’ we pray his spirit to heaven fled,

Leaving only his body amongst the dead.


The dear good folk I used to know,

Who to the village church would go,

There was Parson and Squire, Farmer and Peasant

Who have deserted us only for the present.

For those who exist in this minority

Will presently swell that great majority.


The school-bell rang in my boyhood days

As a warning to cease from frolicsome ways,

To prepare for the cane I was so apt to get,

If perchance my lessons or books I’d forget;

A Mistress too kind, to such dare-devil boy

Who gates would invert, old folks to annoy.


How often, when the toil of day is o’er,

My thoughts still wander, and wander as before

Through land and meadow, field and park,

Stealing eggs from bird’s nests, Save Robin and Lark

For dear Dick-Robin boys ever fought shy,

And adoringly loved the Lark in the sky.


The farmsteads old with gabled roof

For years have stood, good weather proof,

Stone Cottage still, with roof of thatch,

While tiles on others, try to match

The houseleek, and the old man-pepper,

Each vying and trying to look the better.


Still at the Hall a dear good Squire dwells

Who in nobleness of character and beneficence excels;

His worthy spouse, a whose aim has ever been

Love and charity for all, an uncrowned Queen.

Long, and yet longer may they, united live

To enjoy all blessings God himself can give!


Herbert F. Hill

1867 – 1916