Tuesday, June 14, 2011
If you examine the literature of the 17th and 18th centuries, you will find that nearly all its expressions, having reference to the country, show something of this kind: either a foolish sentimentality, or a morbid fear, both of course coupled with the most curious ignorance. You will find all its descriptive expressions at once vague and monotonous. Brooks are always ‘purling’; birds always ‘warbling’; mountains always ‘lift their horrid peaks above the clouds’; vales always ‘are lost in the shadow of gloomy woods’; a few more distinct ideas about haymaking and curds and cream, acquired in the neighbourhood of Richmond Bridge, serving to give an occasional appearance of freshness to the catalogue of the sublime and beautiful which descended from poet to poet; while a few true pieces of pastoral, like the Vicar of Wakefield, and Walton’s Angler, relieved the general waste of dullness.
John Ruskin, lectures on Architecture and painting, Routledge, London, 1854, p.p.131-132.
Is this the origin of things ‘English’ at Springbrook? Did our first settlers see this landscape only with ‘English’ eyes – or eyes for England? Or was it just the English language that dominated expressions – the culture of the times? It is interesting to note that one brook was named as ‘purling’ while others were given what are believed to be Aboriginal names from – well, it is unclear. Was there a specific local tribe? Perhaps this idyllic English vision is also the origin of the idea that Springbrook would make good dairy country too? – ‘curds and cream’ to complete the reference – when everything really was otherwise and has been proven to be so.