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A full & true account of a pleasure party to Rockingham in 1817 by C.R., illustrated by J.P.

Additional Title(s):

A full and true account of a pleasure party to Rockingham in 1817 by C.R., illustrated by J.P.

England, 1817?
Physical Description:
2 v.
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Archives & Manuscripts
Manuscript poem about a trip to Rockingham Castle, in 1817, together with a set of 9 drawings illustrating the same excursion. The poet and artist remain unidentified, beyond the initials given in the title. The fair copy verse is written in neat pen and brown ink, on 26 numbered pages, sewn in simple brown wrappers, with the manuscript title on the front cover. The drawings are executed in a skilled hand, in pen and black ink, with gray wash. They are uniform in size, each 11.5 x 31.5 cm, and sewn together at the left edge. Each drawing also includes a reference to the corresponding page number in the manuscript poem.
The excursion is described in a verse-letter, addressed to a mother from her aspiring poet-son, with a mock-heroic attitude dominating the poet's descriptions. The poet notes that "This poem was begun on Thursday and finish'd on the following Saturday." The poem begins with an introduction "Shewing the great and desirable advantages of becoming a poet," in which is described the ruin that awaits a young poet in London, drawing on stereotypical imagery of poverty and debauchery linked to the artist's life.
After the preamble, the outing is described. About a dozen travelers seemed to have been part of the group--the poet lists a Mr. and Mrs. Irvine (or Irwin), Mr. Reed, Miss Middleton, Miss Irwin, Miss Beck, Miss Myores, Mr. Denis, and two Robertsons. The pleasure party intends to see Rockingham Castle, the seat of the Watson family for many generations, and in the Victorian era a favorite destination of Charles Dickens. Recalling the awe-inspiring sight of the home (whose hall appears in one of the accompanying illustrations), the poet writes: "The stairs, that e'en like ivory shone / are grand, and made of Portland stone / The stucco work, and stained glass / That nought for beauty can surpass / Here for ever could we stay / With difficulty got away / From room to room, a part we bound / Sometimes lost, and sometimes found / From stairs to stairs, from top to toe / Thro cells, and passages, we go ..."( 10-11). After visiting the castle, the party goes boating on a nearby lake; scenes of this portion of the outing are also recorded in the illustrations. The evening is capped off with a tea. A sense of fun and even abandon is communicated in such passages as, "Mix'd, and toss'd, we lay like lubber / Boys and girls drunk and sober / Drinking, singing, laughing, roaring / Thunder, light'ning, round us pouring / Though the clouds in anger ride / We know not what was done outside / Nothing less than mirth would do us / Bedlam! Tut, was nothing to us ..." (18).
Throughout the account, the poet describes a series of mischievous or importune events that await the pleasure party, always threatening to send their experience awry. The most troubling catastrophe seems to be the overturning of one of the carriages, and a subsequent general fainting fit among the travelers. The lengths to which the poet exaggerates his account are unclear, however. It does not appear that any mortal injuries are sustained by any of the travelers, and the party seems to conclude on a positive note.
Subject Terms:
Boats and boating -- Great Britain -- Poetry.
Great Britain -- Social life and customs.
Northamptonshire (England) -- Description and travel.
Rockingham Castle -- Poetry.
Voyages and travels -- Great Britain -- Poetry.
Ink drawings.
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