Photo of Trentham Estate, designed by Capability Brown‘Capability Brown’ by Jeff Eardley The Society September 8, 2022 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 22 Comments . Capability Brown Lancelot “Capability” Brown was England’s greatest landscape architect. His name was Capability, A man of great humility, He knew just where to plant a tree, Enhancing England’s scenery. Of all delights we love to see, He planned with great integrity, The English Aristocracy, Would pay his most substantial fee. Upon his horse, he could foresee, The landscape as it came to be, The lakes, the hills, the grassy lea, So much enjoyed by you and me. As palaces of finery, Those mighty works of masonry, Palatial as a pile can be, Rose out of England’s greenery. To celebrate our history, And wonder at the majesty, That gave him immortality, We’ll drink to Capability. . . Jeff Eardley lives in the heart of England near to the Peak District National Park and is a local musician playing guitar, mandolin and piano steeped in the music of America, including the likes of Ry Cooder, Paul Simon, and particularly Hank Williams. NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. NOTE TO POETS: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to email@example.com. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 22 Responses Cheryl Corey September 8, 2022 A very fun poem, Jeff. Reply Jeff Eardley September 8, 2022 Thank you Cheryl. Reply Brian Yapko September 8, 2022 Jeff, I very much enjoyed this poem about the man who appears to have been England’s preeminent landscape architect. I looked him up and see that he lived from 1716 to 1783, so someone very much of the Georgian period. Your poem is charming in its sing-song rhythm. It is also quite clever in your extensive use of “ee” rhymes to rhyme with “Capabiilty.” Reply Jeff Eardley September 8, 2022 Sorry Brian, my reply is somewhere below!!! Reply Paul Freeman September 8, 2022 Each line’s end sound is ‘e’, A tour de force most verily since I have counted twenty such lines from Mr Eardley. Thanks for a fun poem that jogged seamlessly along, Jeff. Reply Jeff Eardley September 8, 2022 Thank your for your comments Paul, To we poets, one and all, You sure have the wherewithal, To amuse us with your scrawl. Ha Ha Best wishes my friend. Reply Sally Cook September 8, 2022 So good to see music expressed in landscape, much as I try to do so visually both two dimensionally and verbally in paintings and poems. We don’t hear so much about this, but your poetry adds to the whole. Reply Jeff Eardley September 8, 2022 Thank you Sally. Kind words from a prolific, talented artist and poet are truly appreciated. Reply Margaret Coats September 8, 2022 Sally does wonders with windows! Reply Jeff Eardley September 8, 2022 Thanks Brian. A close inspection of Evan’s picture reveals the World’s sole copy of Cellini’s “Perseus and Medusa” gazing over the Italian garden, created in the 1840s. The Brown landscape is the lake and woodland beyond, all overseen by the first Duke of Sutherland atop his plinth. We are lucky to have this place on our doorstep. Thanks again, as always for your most generous comment. Reply Margaret Coats September 8, 2022 Cheers to Capability, and Eardley! Jeff, I’m glad you identified the pictured Italian Gardens as NOT by Brown, because he got rid of existing formal gardens at Trentham in favor of natural grassland, with a ha-ha invisible ditch to keep livestock away from the house. You are quite right that what he designed here was the background–a lake twice its original size, serpentine shore path, and natural-looking but carefully cut and planted woodlands allowing a view to the eyecatcher column. Brown also worked as architect to extend the house, so I’m glad to see you mention that part of Capability’s capabilities in your fourth stanza. The poem has exactly the sort of wine-swirling rhythm best suited to a toast! Reply Jeff Eardley September 8, 2022 Margaret, thank you so much for your observant remarks. We have witnessed Trentham travel from decay and desolation to the totally restored glory of today where we walk the serpentine shore path twice a week. I was unaware of the ha ha so thank you for that. As I type this, we are slipping into a period of intense grieving at the passing of our Queen. Thank you once again for taking the time to comment. Reply Margaret Coats September 8, 2022 She is our Queen, too. May she reign forever in loyal hearts of those who have lived during her Queendom (title of the poet laureate’s tribute to her jubilee earlier this year), and may her soul rest in peace. I just heard an extempore discourse by Sebastian Gorka, born in Britain of Hungarian refugee parents, and now a naturalized American citizen. He explained that all the best in our two cultures arises within long-standing intertwined institutions we share. You celebrate a portion of that in today’s poem, though I comprehend the disinclination for toasting at the present time. Reply Jeff Eardley September 8, 2022 Thank you Margaret. I was a snotty five year old waving my flag as the Queen passed through our grimy industrial town in 1955. I have never forgotten that moment as we toast the long life of this very special lady. Margaret Coats September 8, 2022 I made an error about the title of the laureate’s jubilee poem. It is “Queenhood.” One of the things it predicts after-the-fact is “great elms will fail and fall” during Elizabeth’s reign, referring to catastrophic losses of trees (including many planted by Capability Brown). Landscape and sovereign have a clear connection! Jubilee plantings of The Queen’s Green Canopy will renew the past cover, but the effect is yet to be seen. Keep visiting Trentham and other gardens to combat the woke brigade’s ingratitude while you enjoy the places! Reply Jeff Eardley September 9, 2022 Thank you Margaret for pointing me to “Queenhood” a piece of which I was unaware and will be poring over today. I have often heard Simon Armitage on the radio but he always reminds me of those tourist guides in North England limestone caverns. (He is from Yorkshire) This poem has so many powerful images, particularly for today. Roy E. Peterson September 8, 2022 Somewhere in the back of my mind I remember Capability Brown. Your portrayal re-etched some of those memories in such a pleasurable poem. I really enjoyed reading it more than once! Reply Jeff Eardley September 8, 2022 Thanks Roy. Capability was a great architect of the natural landscape. Many of his creations are under the protection of our beloved National Trust, currently under attack by the woke brigade. They are very special places over here. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant September 8, 2022 I’m raising a toast to Capability and his craft (a glorious gift), and to you, Jeff, for writing an uplifting poem that has me drifting over the pond to wander in the wonders of magnificent English gardens. I live surrounded by wild beauty in Texas… sometimes I crave a manicured marvel… to frolic over a velvet lawn without the rattle of a snake… only sometimes. Reply Jeff Eardley September 9, 2022 Thanks Susan for your kind words. We are envious of your wild beauty but like a Indiana Jones, will take a rain check on the snakes, particularly those rattlers. Reply David Watt September 11, 2022 Thank you Jeff for your entertaining poem concerning Capability Brown. The fact that so many of his garden designs remain today is testament to his art. The repeating rhyme works a treat in this piece. Reply Jeff Eardley September 13, 2022 Thanks David and looking forward to more of your excellent work. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.