I remember, I remember,
The house where I was born,
I remember too the garden,
With its green and grassy lawn.
I remember too the Village Church
With its ivy-coloured tower
Where the little birds took refuge
From the sun or summer shower.
I have seen full many a village church
And many handsome towers
But I ne’er yet have seen a prettier one
In all the land than ours.
And in the month of Xmas
When my sisters small and great
Wanted ivy from the tower
The church to decorate.
I have climbed through the belfry
And up the ladder tall,
Through the bells and out at the top to cut
The ivy from the wall.
I remember, too, the village clerk,
Old Sadler was his name;
And poor old Mrs Walters,
At the bottom of Church Lane.
And many a village peasant,
They were all so good and kind,
But I have come away from there,
And left them all behind.
I remember too the Lock-keeper
His name was Mr Small,
I remember too the backwater
And the gurgling waterfall.
Oft have I heard the creaking sound
Of the roaring old mill wheels
Oft have I seen the baskets
Where the mill-men caught(?) their eels.
I remember too our meadow
Where in the month of May
With my little wooden fork I worked
And helped to make the hay.
They always used to make the stack
Near a little wooden shed
Where the cows were milked at even(?),
And the pony made his bed.
I remember too the Warren
With a little stream hard by
Where the cows used to get water
When the ground was hard and dry.
Oft on a summer’s evening
Have I watched the rabbits run
Into the Warren, when they heard
My brother with his gun.
And from that Warren I have heard
The turtle dove bewail
And the throstle with his charming note
And the lovely nightingale.
I remember too the Chalk cliff
Where the Lords and Ladies grew,
Where I have plucked the violets
Both red, and white, and blue.
I remember too Old Father Thames
In whose darkly-flowing face
I have watched the little gudgeons play
And the perch, and roach, and dace.
Oft in a summer’s evening
When the gnats flew thick and free
Have I gone to fish with my brothers
When I had done my tea.
Oft have I wandered in the path
Close to its watery edge
And have seen the little Willow wren
Fly from the grass and sedge.
I remember too the Island
Where the snow flakes came rare and few
With their heads bent down like the snowdrops
In snowy clusters grew.
And in the meadows by its side,
Have I plucked the celandine
And the sword-grass, and the primrose
And the little eglantine.
And in the month of Xmas
When the fields were flooded o’er
When the song of the Nightingale or Thrush
Were heard by us no more.
When Old Father Thames was frozen
And the meadows by his side
I remember how we used to go
And have a jolly slide.
And on the night of Xmas eve,
I used to love to hear
The singers at midnight in Shiplake Church
Ring in the happy new year.
I listened to the joyous sound
As it floated in the air
And I never have heard a merrier peal
Or one better rung, than there.
But I never shall hear them again
I have left all those behind,
But they never will be blotted
From my memory, or my mind.
[Dedicated to Miss F. A. Rawnsley, Hardwicke’s twin sister. This is the earliest surviving poem of Hardwicke Rawnsley. Written when he was 10 years old.]
[See RR/9/5 and RR/7/21 in the Rawnsley Archives]