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Cromer 1816

In 1816 the following poem appeared in the newspaper Bury and Norwich Post. In its lines, you can identify some of the features of the town, some of the activities in which the townsfolk and visitors participated and some of the problems of the town - such as shipwrecks and erosion. 'Machines' refer to bathing machines.

Mark yon tall tower, that rears its noble head

O'er mouldring ruins, and the storied dead;
Yon spreading village, on the rude cliff's brow
That smiles so sweetly on the storm below;
Yon guardian genius, that with friendly ray
Lights the poor Sailor on his gloomy way;
Yon swelling hills ; yon vales, and woods, and waste
Another Tempé to the eye of Taste ;
Yon vast expanse of waters spread beneath,
O'er whose still surface scarce soft zephyrs breathe;
A thousand streamers deck the liquid plain,
And the proud vessel skims along the main ;
There the light boat, on short excursion bound,
Bears its gay burthen o'er the blue profound;
The fisherman rests upon his weary oar,
Or flings his net - (in vain he flung before)
His eager eye and trembling hands declare
That Providence has bless'd his anxious care ;
O'er the smooth beach, where many a pebble lays.
The careful nurse and prattling infant strays;
The firmer step of youth, as Fancy leads,
Scales the bold cliff, or sports thro' flowery meads;
While social converse, or a book, engage
The calmer moments of maturer age.
See yon machines at work ! what varied aim
The infant's scream, and the loud youth's acclaim
There the bold swimmer strikes the opposing wave,
And gains fresh vigour from the stroke he gave ;
There the young female, with a softer grace,
Shakes her long locks, and strokes her dripping face.
Hail! purest exercise! by which we bind
Strength to the nerve, and firmness to the mind;
Bid loftier thoughts and nobler views engage,
And stamp on childhood all the sense of age.
Not always does the mighty deep display
These gentle graces of a summer's day
Late I beheld the foaming billow, tost
On its wild bosom - in confusion lost -
The sweeping blast - and the dread thunder's roar
Burst their fetters - fill'd the lonely shore -
What scenes of horror thicken'd on our view -
The surf - the cracking mast - the shrieking crew
The sinking vessel - (no assistance nigh) -
Plung'd in one moment to eternity
Horror of horrors! 'till, at close of night,
Darkness in pity veil'd the awful sight.
Oh, Neptune ! why with such relentless hate
Dost thou pursue poor Cromer to its fate?
Can smiles and innocence no pity gain ?
Must youth and beauty plead her cause in vain?
Oh! for some feeling in that rugged breast,
Now spoil'd of half her charms -spare, spare the rest:
Will not one victim to thy rage suffice?
And must poor Cromer be demolished twice?
Then, like another Venus, may she rise
More sweet and lovely in a nation's eyes;
Breathe health and virtue o'er a happy land,
Defeat thy malice, and for ages stand.


Cromer Sept. 24th, 1816.