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John Horseman 1845

Poems and Sonnets, Moral and Devotional
On Various Occasions

The Late Rev. John Horseman B.D.
Once fellow and tutor of Corpus Christi College Oxford, and since rector of Heydon , Essex

John Horseman (1776–1844) was an academic and Clergyman born in Souldern the son of John Horseman who was Rector in the village for 34 years 1772–1806. He was educated at Corpus Christi, Oxford (BA 1795), where he remained as a fellow from 1795–1819. He was Rector of Heydon and Little Chishill from 1810.

Although a cleric by profession he was at University with prominent radical and romantic poet Southey with whom he maintained a sporadic correspondence. He clearly maintained an interest in writing poetry.

On his death this collected anthology of his poems was published, the full work is available in the Internet Archive Open Library. Three of the poems mention Souldern in the title, or in the subtitle stating they were written in the village. These three have been transcribed and marked up in HTML and are reproduced below.


DEAR Souldern!―once the dearest spot on earth,
  Thee I can scarce expect to see again;
My father's parsonage and my place of birth,
  Where my first days were spent, ah! days of pain!
But, against hope, in spite of sickness too,
  A puny stripling I to manhood grew!

To grievous head-aches many years a prey,
  Seldom an interval was mine of ease;
I ne'er was young, nor could like children play;
  Quiet and books alone had power to please.
And, though I dashed with grief their cup of joy,
  My dear good parents loved their poor sick boy.

How strange it seems, then, in my life's decline,
  Health to enjoy, unknown to me before!
And various comforts, God be thanked! are mine;
  And others, God be thanked! may be in store;
With a kind wife and daughter I am blest:
  In God I trust, and “leave to him the rest.”

Still on my heart what serious troubles press;
  From evils, in some shape, who can be free?
But good predominates, and happiness
  Is meant for man by God's benign decree.
His word I reverence, and would not twist,
  When I profess myself an Optimist.



Mother! thy frame is mouldered into earth!
And be it so! I'll muse upon thy worth,
Bowing, submissive, to the God on high,
Who brings us into being but to die.
Vain are the tears that feeble mortals shed
Over the relics of their honoured dead:
Vain are such tears, yet innocent, and shew
That man is only man,―the heir of woe.
And I must weep; for I have lost in thee
All that a tender mother ought to be:
Puny and weak, when first my life began,
And scarcely reared, with care, into a man,
To thy fond anxious love it is I owe
All of my little happiness below;
And to thy motherly and christian love
All of the happiness I hope above:
For thou and my dear father, happy pair,
Placed in your children all your worldly care;
And, as yourselves the path of virtue trod,
Shewed us that path, which leads to bliss and God.
Mother! what can I do, now thou art gone,
But comfort my poor father, left alone?
And as with age his maladies increase,
Suppress my grief, and pray for his release;
Then, knowing well in whom I have to trust,
Consign, with pious hope, his dust to dust!



Cold is the world, and passing hard,
And neither claims nor has regard
From me, whose bitter tears gush fast,
From every earthly joy outcast;
For nothing earthly can impart
A comfort to my orphan'd heart.

My God, to thee I lift my prayer:
“Keep me, O keep me from despair!
“Give me in thee to put my trust,
“And own thy heaviest judgment just!”

Yet a kind Wife should heaven bestow,
She, sure, would mitigate my woe;
She blessing me, her might I bless,
And taste on earth some happiness.
This consolation could be given:
But dare I hope so much from heaven?
No—I must weep through life alone!
“Thy will, O God, not mine, be done.”