steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Bore, Berkeley and a latter-day Yorick

Yesterday I went with gair and gerald to see the Severn bore, up at Stonebench just outside Gloucester. It was very good, but far too exciting to take pictures of as it was happening, so here instead is a photograph of the scene a mere 15 minutes before the bore struck...

The River Severn at Stonebench

The potential is all, as I'm sure you'll agree.

I wanted to visit the Edward Jenner museum at Berkeley. It was closed, unfortunately, but by holding my phone above the top of the wall, I was able to get this picture of Jenner's Temple of Vaccinia (is that not the coolest name?), where in the eighteenth century he inoculated the poor men, women, and it seems hobbits of the parish against smallpox, gratis:

The Temple of Vaccinia

We took a turn round Berkeley Castle while we were there, the grass surrounding which really was this colour, and of an unearthly springiness:

Berkeley Castle and accompanying sward

I'd been with lady_schrapnell a while ago, so was familiar with the room where Edward II was murdered, and the accompanying noisome pit - but I'd not taken in that the castle was also the scene of the death, in 1729, of Dicky Pearce, the last professional jester in England. Apparently he fell headfirst out of the minstrels' gallery in the Great Hall, landing on the unforgiving flags below. He was aged 63. Jonathan Swift, one-time chaplain to Lord Berkeley, wrote a rather weak epitaph, which you can see on Pearce's tomb in the churchyard (but how I wish they'd remembered that apostrophe on the wooden sign!):

A Yorick moment

"Here lies the Earl of Suffolk's fool, 
Men call him Dicky Pearce;
His folly served to make men laugh 
When wit and mirth were scarce. 
Poor Dick, alas! is dead and gone, 
What signifies to cry?
Dickies enough he left behind 
To laugh at by-and-by."
Tags: real life
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded