Saturday, 7 February 2009

The Mower's Song Andrew Marvell 1621-1678

Picture: The Mowers, Sir George Clausen R.A.

My Mind was once the true survey
Of all these Meadows fresh and gay;
And in the greenness of the Grass
Did see its Hopes as in a Glass;
When Juliana came, and she
What I do to the Grass, does to my Thoughts and Me.

But these, while I with Sorrow pine,
Grew more luxuriant still and fine;
That not one Blade of Grass you spy'd,
But had a Flower on either side;
When Juliana came, and She
What I do to the Grass, does to my Thoughts and Me.

Unthankful Meadows, could you so
A fellowship so true forego,
And in your gawdy May-games meet,
While I lay trodden under feet?
When Juliana came , and She
What I do to the Grass, does to my Thoughts and Me.

But what you in Compassion ought,
Shall now by my Revenge be wrought:
And Flow'rs, and Grass, and I and all,
Will in one common Ruine fall.
For Juliana comes, and She
What I do to the Grass, does to my Thoughts and Me.

And thus, ye Meadows, which have been
Companions of my thoughts more green,
Shall now the Heraldry become
With which I shall adorn my Tomb;
For Juliana comes, and She
What I do to the Grass, does to my Thoughts and Me.

Clausen, Sir George: In my local art gallery, there used to be a very large room full of what was known as the Sam Wilson Bequest.
Sam Wilson left his art collection to the city of Leeds, on the understanding that it was all to be displayed together for fifty years. Recently, we passed the fifty year mark, the Art Gallery had a huge extensive make-over, and a big part of the collection I had grown up with disappeared.
It seems to me that the paintings which came out of store are not, in many cases better than, or even equal to those which have been "disappeared".
Sam Wilson's Clausens were a constant fascination to me, I would look at the recurring characters in them, the young woman reading by lamplight, the child with an apple, elsewhere I read that she is called Rose. She and the lamp-woman have similar faces, is Rose her younger self? are they sisters?
The bearded man, gardener, haymaker, the young boy, Rose's brother, all are characters I get to see by Clausen's painted windows onto their world. Long dead, they are, but alive forever in their gilded frames.
Take a look at the picture I headed this post with. Look at the way the paint is swirled in the arc of the scythe, the motion-blur on the trousers of the mower, if I told you it was a Van Gogh would you doubt me?
There are many painters who deserve more recognition, for me, Clausen is one.


  1. Hiya Soub! If I was in the mowing business, I'd probably be really interested in this. Actually I am anyway. The guys in that field are working for a living! I used to mow grass, but my one customer, what I did to the grass, did to me!

  2. Yes, I'd believe you. Not knowing much about painting, I know I like this one. The much older Marvell poem, too. They fit. Thanks.

  3. i love the clausen .. and the marvell. betcha didn't know mules could be soph-iss-ti-kated! went to the cultured shop the other day and picked up a few soph-iss-ti-kated tubs to rub on my flanks ..

    see? it's a workin'



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