Part of an old map with drawings of figures relating to the geographical features Part of an old map with drawings of figures relating to the geographical features Show image info

Part of the map of Somerset and Wiltshire engraved by William Hole, to illustrate ‘Poly-Olbion’ the epic poem by Michael Drayton, 1612 [ref. 0596]

Man of the Mendip Hills

Written in 2019 by a member of a creative writing class, through a collaboration between Bath Record Office and the St. John’s Foundation.

A poem inspired by the map of Somerset and Wiltshire engraved by William Hole, to illustrate ‘Poly-Olbion’ the epic poem by Michael Drayton, 1612.

I am a man of Mendip
I work with my pick and spade
Mining, digging, to find
What minerals lie beneath the earth.

I am dark and I am crooked
I go burrowing under the ground
Like a mole; with a candle.
People tell strange tales about me and my fellows

I find and bring out
The black rock that burns
Sometimes metals – gold!
Silver, copper, tin; but not in this shire.

It is dirty, dangerous work.
And there are strange beings,
Under the earth
Who wait to trap me, drown me, choke me with their foul breath.

I am a man of Mendip: people fear me.

Bryony McGinty, February – March 2019