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News > Alumni News > Monody, Oswestry School - John Freeman Milward Dovaston

Monody, Oswestry School - John Freeman Milward Dovaston

John Freeman Milward Dovaston, Shropshire Poet and Naturalist, was a pupil under the Headship of Rev. Eusebius Edwards (1781).
17 Feb 2022
Alumni News

John attended School from about 1790 until just before Rev Dr Jame Donne took over. Having obtained his degree at Christ Church, Oxford, John decided on a career in Law. This was not to his liking however, and music and poetry became his firm interest. Below is his poem, Monody, Oswestry School.

(In poetry, the term monody has become specialised to refer to a poem in which one person laments another's death)


Oswestry School

Alone I love to haunt, fair Oswestry,
      The woods and hills that bosom thee around,
Sprinkling my lyre of guideless minstrelsey
      With notes that, like thy rills, unheeded sound,
         Trickling at times all wild along,
         Lush herbs and mossy stones among.
Then smoothly gliding o'er the meadow ground,
         'Till in some roaring torrent tossed,
         Their little melody is lost:
Or borne to some deep river's muddy shore,
                                                       Is heard no more.

Yet can I not restrain the lay,
For ah ! this lonely scene
Minds me of many a distant day,
      And many a time between,
Since here I first at early age
Began to con the columned page.
A little waddling trousered lad
      I came and tedious toiled
O'er leaves in yellow canvass clad,
      Leaves corner curled and soiled,
And hid the bitten apple half afraid,
Flush'd at the noise the munching made.

I say I love to stray alone,
For school-companions all are gone:
      Far countries some to see:
In Fortune's dome some refuge find:
Wealth's dusty ways while others wind:
And some in Fame's bright noon reclin'd,
      Care little now for me.
And how to strangers can I tell
The joys that now my bosom swell
      To trace my tree-cut name?
To them, alas, 'twill only show
That I was twice ten years ago.

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