Notes on the text
(By George Engle, with additional notes on "An Astrologer's Song" and "Our Fathers of Old" by Philip Holberton
and medical advice from Dr Gillian Sheehan)
Cattiwow came down the steep lane with his five-horse timber-tug. Cattiwow never let them ride the big beam that makes the body of the timber-tug, but they hung on behind.[Page 258, line 7] Saye one of Cromwell's generals.
Is it really seven years
Since we made cowslip wine?
And the flowers bloomed on Rushall Down
As they had through measured time.
We could not fill a teacup now
With the little yellow bloom
For the fields are dressed with the chemist's best
Which sealed the cowslip's doom.
'But it has not been all disaster. Some years later, our son, Tim, planted a vineyard where a few cowslips were growing. Because he knew my verse, he transplanted them into a corner of our garden. Since then they have migrated round the garden and, secure in their 'protected' status, have indiscriminately colonised lawns, flower beds and rockeries to our great joy every spring.' [R.C.A.]