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'It was a summer's evening...' | 08-Aug-07

'It was a summer's evening
Old Casper's work was done'

This quotation is something my mother (aged 84) often receites and I think it is something from her schooldays.

Can you help?

Pauline

3 comments have been made on this quote. Click here to read them and then add your own!


Do you know this poem? Do you have any clues to help us find it?


Comments:

The Battle of Blenheim
by Robert Southey

1
It was a summer evening,
Old Kaspar?s work was done,
And he before his cottage door
Was sitting in the sun,
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.

2
She saw her brother Peterkin
Roll something large and round,
Which he beside the rivulet
In playing there had found;
He came to ask what he had found,
That was so large, and smooth, and round.

3
Old Kaspar took it from the boy,
Who stood expectant by;
And then the old man shook his head
And with a natural sigh,
??Tis some poor fellow?s skull? said he,
?Who fell in the great victory.

4
?I find them in the garden,
For there?s many here about;
And often when I go to plough,
The ploughshare turns them out!
For many thousand men?, said he,
?Were slain in that great victory.?

5
?Now tell us what ?t was all about,?
Young Peterkin, he cries;
And little Wilhelmine looks up
With wonder-waiting eyes;
?Now tell us all about the war,
And what they fought each other for.?

6
?It was the English?, Kaspar cried,
?Who put the French to rout;
But what they fought each other for,
I could not well make out;
But everybody said?, quoth he,
?That ?t was a famous factory.

7
?My father lived at Blenheim then,
Yon little stream hard by;
They burnt his dwelling to the ground,
And he was forced to fly;
So with his wife and child he fled,
Nor had he where to rest his head.

8
?With fire and sword the country round
Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childing mother then,
And new-born baby died;
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.

9
?They say it was a shocking sight
After the field was won;
For many thousand bodies here
Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.

10
?Great praise the Duke of Marlbro? won,
And our good Prince Eugene.?
?Why ?t was a very wicked thing!?
Said little Wilhelmine.
?Nay . . nay . . my little girl?, quoth he,
?It was a famous victory.

11
?And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win.?
?But what good came of it at last??
Quoth little Peterkin,
?Why that I cannot tell,? said he,
?But ?t was a famous victory.?
Westbury, 1798


Barbara Dignan

This is the first couplet from Robert Southey's 'The Battle of Blenheim' written in 1800. Southey's dates - 1774 - 1843.
Couplet should be:
'It was a summer evening
Old Kaspar's work was done,'
Michael Rockliffe-King

I too remember this poem from school around 1950. I believe it goes like this:

The Battle of Blenheim
by Robert Southey

It was a summer evening,
Old Kaspar?s work was done,
And he before his cottage door
Was sitting in the sun,
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.


She saw her brother Peterkin
Roll something large and round,
Which he beside the rivulet
In playing there had found;
He came to ask what he had found,
That was so large, and smooth, and round.


Old Kaspar took it from the boy,
Who stood expectant by;
And then the old man shook his head
And with a natural sigh,
??Tis some poor fellow?s skull? said he,
?Who fell in the great victory.


?I find them in the garden,
For there?s many here about;
And often when I go to plough,
The ploughshare turns them out!
For many thousand men?, said he,
?Were slain in that great victory.?


?Now tell us what ?t was all about,?
Young Peterkin, he cries;
And little Wilhelmine looks up
With wonder-waiting eyes;
?Now tell us all about the war,
And what they fought each other for.?


?It was the English?, Kaspar cried,
?Who put the French to rout;
But what they fought each other for,
I could not well make out;
But everybody said?, quoth he,
?That ?t was a famous factory.


?My father lived at Blenheim then,
Yon little stream hard by;
They burnt his dwelling to the ground,
And he was forced to fly;
So with his wife and child he fled,
Nor had he where to rest his head.


?With fire and sword the country round
Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childing mother then,
And new-born baby died;
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.


?They say it was a shocking sight
After the field was won;
For many thousand bodies here
Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.


?Great praise the Duke of Marlbro? won,
And our good Prince Eugene.?
?Why ?t was a very wicked thing!?
Said little Wilhelmine.
?Nay . . nay . . my little girl?, quoth he,
?It was a famous victory.


?And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win.?
?But what good came of it at last??
Quoth little Peterkin,
?Why that I cannot tell,? said he,
?But ?t was a famous victory.?
Westbury, 1798


John Avery


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