Saturday, 15 November 2008


Monserrate : Cascade

Transported from Ancient Greece, the Muses of Monserrate have their home just beneath the cascade (near the entrance at the top of the garden). At the foot of Mount Helicon, a spring rises where winged Pegasus stamped his foot into the hillside. Hippocrene is its name, and it is regarded as the source of all inspiration.

A circle large, expanding wide,
Steep fenced with rock on every side,
Deep cut in Helicon’s fairy mount,
Holding our Hippocrene’s fount ….
(I'll spare you the rest)

‘Fairy Life in Fairyland’ gives us the Victorian garden programme. Thomas Cargill, a Lisbon doctor, was responsible for this outpouring though he wisely chose to conceal his identity with a pseudonym. However inexpressibly bad, the verse of this poem holds valuable clues to the aspirations and fantasy of the garden’s maker: Francis Cook.

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