Through airy space


Richard Monckton Milnes was born in 1809, and like many young gentleman of the time, took a tour abroad, partly study, partly to see a little of the world. He visited Italy, Greece and Germany and on his return published Memorials of a Tour in some Parts of Greece. I’ve been to all three of the countries, but not in the same way that he did! I visited Germany on an exchange and stayed with a girl the similar age in Heidelberg, had a villa holiday in Greece, and camped in Italy.

These are Monckton’s thoughts on returning home:

Impression on Returning to England

In just accordance with attentive sight,
Through airy space and round our planet ball,
The inorganic world is voiced with light,
And colours are the words it speaks withal.
Thus has my eye had glad experience
Of that most perfect utterance and clear tone
With which all visible things address the sense,
In lands retiring from the northern zone.
But oh! in what poor language, faintly caught,
Do the old features of my England greet
Her stranger-son–how powerless, how unmeet
For the free vision Italy had taught
What to expect from nature; I must scan
Her face, I fear, no more, and look alone to man.


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