29 January 2017

Robert Bloomfield in Campton, Bedfordshire

'ROBERT
BLOOMFIELD
The pastoral Poet who is buried in this churchyard
[...]
Then bring me nature, bring me sense,
And joy shall be your recompense'

This memorial is in the south aisle of All Saints Church remembering the rural working-class poet buried in the churchyard. The guide to the church states that Bloomfield lived in nearby Shefford, that the memorial is in Welsh stone and was installed in 2003.

'HERE LIE
THE REMAINS OF
ROBERT BLOOMFIELD
HE WAS BORN AT HONINGTON
IN SUFFOLK
DECEMBER III MDCCLXVI
AND DIED AT SHEFFORD
AUGUST XIX MDCCCXXIII

HIS WILD NATIVE WOOD NOTES TELL THE REST'

Above is the correct inscription on the headstone. Dr Bridget Keegan wrote an essay in Robert Bloomfield: Lyric, Class, and the Romantic Canon (Bucknell University Press, 2006). I can't believe that she has ever seen the headstone, as her copy of the inscription of the tombstone (disregarding the fact that she chooses to write it in lower case as opposed to the inscribed upper case) has several errors and/or omissions: she manages to make a grammatical (and factual) mistake in the first line by saying the headstone reads 'Here lies'; she gets both his (correctly inscribed) dates of birth and death wrong; she also omits the exact date of his birth (inscribed on the stone) and omits the adjective 'native' between 'wild' and 'wood': in a word, she makes a hell of a mess of the inscription. I didn't read the essay itself as I had no obvious way of telling how many errors are in it.

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