A Spot of Poetry near Malham Cove

Escaping both the FA Cup and the Royal Wedding, we headed up to Malham Tarn and Malham Cove near Settle, in North Yorkshire. What stunning places! We spent all day ooh-ing and aah-ing and deciding that there weren't enough superlatives to describe the grandeur and beauty.

William Wordsworth wrote the following sonnet about Malham Cove following his introduction to William Westall by Robert Southey in 1818. The sonnet is written in repsonse to Westall's picturesque style drawings and sketches. Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy, had visited Malhamdale in 1799 and been enchanted by the gorges, caves and limestone then. His sonnet, however, is entirely a response to the sketches and has a certain detached element about it.

Was the aim frustrated by force or guile,
When giants scooped from out the rocky ground,
Tier under tier, this semicirque profound?
(Giants—the same who built in Erin's isle
That Causeway with incomparable toil!)—
O, had this vast theatric structure wound
With finished sweep into a perfect round,
No mightier work had gained the plausive smile
Of all-beholding Phoebus! But, alas,
Vain earth! false world! Foundations must be laid
In Heaven; for, 'mid the wreck of IS and WAS ,
Things incomplete and purposes betrayed
Make sadder transits o'er thought's optic glass
Than noblest objects utterly decayed.

Betty Chester wrote a more immediate and cheerful poem in 1818 about Malhamdale: 

O how I love thee, dear old Malhamdale!
With thy sequestered nooks and lovely vale,
Adorned by curious rocks and shady dells,
Fine waterfalls and rugged, high-peaked fells,
That lavishly display in many a part
The richest beauty of nature's art
In thee, old Malhamdale.

Thou dost at every season of the year,
In sunshine bright, and wintry storms severe,
Present to my admiring eyes a face
That's unsurpassed in beauty and in grace.
For, though I wander other sights to see,
Yet find I none that can compare with thee,
Romantic Malhamdale.