Devon, Its Moorlands, Streams and Coasts

Rosalind Northcote
Devon, Its Moorlands, Streams
and Coasts, by
by Frederick J.

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Coasts, by
Rosalind Northcote, Illustrated by Frederick J. Widgery
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Title: Devon, Its Moorlands, Streams and Coasts
Author: Rosalind Northcote

Release Date: September 1, 2007 [eBook #22485]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

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Transcriber's note:
In this text superscript is represented with '^' and a macron with [=o]

With Illustrations in Colour after Frederick J. Widgery

London Exeter Chatto & Windus James G. Commin M CM VIII

Deep-wooded combes, clear-mounded hills of morn, Red sunset tides
against a red sea-wall, High lonely barrows where the curlews call, Far
moors that echo to the ringing horn,-- Devon! thou spirit of all these
beauties born, All these are thine, but thou art more than all: Speech
can but tell thy name, praise can but fall Beneath the cold white
sea-mist of thy scorn.

Yet, yet, O noble land, forbid us not Even now to join our faint
memorial chime To the fierce chant wherewith their hearts were hot
Who took the tide in thy Imperial prime; Whose glory's thine till Glory
sleeps forgot With her ancestral phantoms, Pride and Time.

The first and one of the greatest difficulties to confront a writer who
attempts any sort of description of a place or people is almost sure to be
the answer to the question, How much must be left out? In the present
case the problem has reappeared in every chapter, for Devon is 'a fair
province,' as Prince says in his 'Worthies of Devon,' and 'the happy
parent of ... a noble offspring.'
My position is that of a person who has been bidden to take from a
great heap of precious stones as many as are needed to make one chain;
for however grasping that person may be, and however long the chain
may be made, when all the stones have been chosen, the heap will look
almost as great and delightful as before: only a few of the largest and
brightest jewels will be gone.
The fact that I have been able to take only a small handful from the vast
hoard that constitutes the history of Devon will explain, I hope, the
many omissions that must strike every reader who has any knowledge
of the county--omissions of which no one can be more conscious than
myself. A separate volume might very well be written about the bit of
country touched on in each chapter.
This book does not pretend to include every district. I have merely
passed through a great part of the county, stopping here at an old
church with interesting monuments, there at a small town whose share
in local history--in some instances, in the country's history--is apt to be
forgotten, or at a manor-house which should be remembered for its
association with one of the many 'worthies' who, as Prince says--with

the true impartiality of a West-countryman in regard to his own
county--form 'an illustrious troop of heroes, as no other county in the
kingdom, no other kingdom (in so small a tract) in Europe, in all
respects, is able to match, much less excel.'
From the 'Tale of Two Swannes,' a view of the banks of the River Lea,
published in 1590, I have ventured to borrow the verses that close an
address 'To the Reader':
'To tell a Tale, and tell the Trueth withall, To write of waters, and with
them of land, To tell of Rivers, where they rise and fall, To tell where
Cities, Townes, and Castles stand, To tell their names, both old and
newe, With other things that be most true,
'Argues a Tale that tendeth to some good, Argues a Tale that hath in it
some reason, Argues a Tale, if it be understood, As looke the like, and
you shall find it geason. If, when you reade, you find it so, Commend
the worke and let it goe.'

Sonnet by Henry Newbolt page v
Preface vii
Chap. I. Exeter 1
II. The Exe 13
III. The Otter and the Axe 47
IV. Dartmoor 71
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