Hilaire Belloc bought King's Land (in Shipley, Sussex), 5 acres and a working windmill for £1000 in 1907 and it was his home for the rest of his life. Belloc loved Sussex as few other writers have loved her: he lived there for most of his 83 years, he tramped the length and breadth of the county, slept under her hedgerows, drank in her inns, sailed her coast and her rivers and wrote several incomparable books about her. "He does not die that can bequeath Some influence to the land he knows, Or dares, persistent, interwreath Love permanent with the wild hedgerows; He does not die, but still remains Substantiate with his darling plains."

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Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Who was Miranda?

This sonnet, by Hugh Mackintosh, is quoted by Lord Stanley of Alderley in his matchless introduction to the revised edition of The Cruise of the Nona (1955):


No one may span you for a hundred years,
No one appraise you but the very wise:
Fragments of your great song enchant our ears,
The length of your great stride eludes our eyes;
Your peaks stand high above our valley's murk,
Distance of time alone can give the view
Of that great mountain range that is your work
And of the four true men made one in you.
Down from your height cascades and torrents flow,
Multiple springs of loveliness and laughter,
To stay and comfort those who follow after
When you and we have gone with last year's snow.
For me you are the poet crystalline
Of 'Tarantella' and 'In praise of wine'.
Hugh Mackintosh

It has been suggested in various web sites that I, Miranda Mackintosh, am the original Miranda to whom Hillaire Belloc refers in his poem 'Tarantella'. This is not true. Hillaire Belloc was a life long friend of my father, Hugh Mackintosh, and our family. In 1929, when I was two years old, he wrote it out on vellum and gave it to me as a present. In an accompanying letter to my father he explained that the poem had evolved over twenty years and that the poem he had given me was not the final version, nor indeed the one that he preferred, but that it had the merit of being the original one. It has been suggested by a distinguished historian that the Miranda referred to could have been the mayor of a small Spanish town with whom Belloc often went hunting. 

Miranda Mackintosh

From www.poetryconnection.net

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