Local Poets and Perry

F.W. Harvey was born at Marlsend (Murrell’s End), Hartpury on 26th March 1888, son of Howard Frederick Harvey, a farmer and horse dealer. He was a contemporary of Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Ivor Gurney and Rupert Brooke. He became a close friend of Gurney and his fellow composer Herbert Howells.

LOCAL-8-F.W.-Harvey-The family moved to Redlands, Minsterworth within a few years of his birth. Harvey fought in the trenches of Flanders in the First World War and became a P.O.W. in 1916, when he wrote perhaps his best-known poem, Ducks, but his love of Gloucestershire and appreciation of the countryside and its products was always uppermost in his poetry.

Harvey died in 1957 aged 69 at his home in Yorkley in the Forest of Dean – ‘I have burnt myself out for the glory of Gloucestershire’. Hartpury Heritage Trustees gained Patrick Harvey’s permission to quote from his father’s work.

After Long Wandering:  [1st and last verse]

I will go back to Gloucestershire,
To the spot where I was born
To talk at eve with men and women
And song on the roads at morn.
And I’ll sing as I tramp by dusty hedges
Or drink my ale in the shade
How Gloucestershire is the finest home
That the Lord God ever made.

I’ll drink my perry and sing my song
Of home and home again,
Pierced with the old miraculous pleasure
Keen as sharpest pain;
And if I rise to sing on the morrow
Or if I die in my bed,
‘Tis all the same: I’ll be home again,
And happy alive or dead.

Song of Minsterworth Perry

When Noe went sailing with his crew
And waters covered all the earth,
Trees that in Eden-orchard grew
Got washed away to Minsterworth.

Now every year they bloom again,
(All of the trees spread healthy root)
And after Summer’s shine and rain
We gather up the blessed fruit;
Whereof we get a heavenly drink
(Two rather!) for to make us merry;
Oh! Cider’s one, and I do think
The name o’ t’other one is Perry!

John Helps

John Helps a wer an honest mon;
The perry that a made
Wer crunced vrom purs as honest
As ever tree displayed.

John Helps a wer an honest mon;
The dumplings that a chewed
Wer made vrom honest apples
As Autumn ever growed.

John Helps a wer an honest mon;
And I be sorry a’s dead.
Perry and honest men be scarce
These days ‘tiz zed.

A River, A Pig, And Brains

Last fall, to sell his oldest perry,
Old William Fry did cross the ferry,
And thur inside of an old sty
‘A seed a leanish pig did lie:

A rakish, active beast ‘a was
As ever rooted up the grass:
Eager as bees on making honey
To stuff his self. Bill did decide
To buy un with the cider money
And fat un up for Easter-tide.

He bought un, but no net ‘ad got
To kip thic pig inside the boat.
“The’ll drown we’ pig and all at ferry”
Cried one. Said Fry, “Go, bring some perry,
And this old drinking-horn you got,
Lying inside the piggery cot!”

He poured a goodish swig and soon
– As lazy as a day o’ June –
Piggy lay boozed, and so did bide
Snoring, while him and Fry were taken
‘Cross Severn: and ‘a didn’t waken
Until the boat lay safely tied
Up to a tree on t’other side.