John Drinkwater, poet and playwright


John Drinkwater, poet and playwright


John Drinkwater the poet and playright, introduced to Oakridge by William Rothenstein, so loved the setting that he stayed at Winson Cottage for a year!

The image is a painting of John Drinkwater by William Rothenstein.

Drinkwater was attracted by the landscape. He wrote 'The Cotswold country is, as I think, the most beautiful in England. There is no more tender or subtle landscape on earth.' He loved the old stone cottages, admiring 'an architecture that has never lost its vitality'.

Around him in Oakridge were craftsmen, thatchers, tilers, carpenters and stonemasons, still working in the traditional way, using skills handed down through countless generations.

The local people inspired Drinkwater to write a small book, Cotswold Characters, which contains a series of portraits of craftsmen, clearly local, though Drinkwater disguises their identity.

Not all poets appreciated the Oakridge setting, Yeats was renowned for 'walking along staring at the ground' and a pair of poems, the original by John Drinkwater and its parody written by Max Beerbohm, also illustrate differing attitudes to life in Far Oakridge where both lived for a period in 1917.

Cottage Song by John Drinkwater Far Oakridge, Summer 1917

Morning and night l bring
Clear water from the spring
And through the lyric noon
l hear the larks in tune.
And when the shadows fall
There's providence for all. 

My garden is alight
With currants red and white.
And my blue curtians peep
On starry courses deep.
While down her silver tides
The moon on Cotswold rides.

My path of paven grey
Is thoroughfare all day
For fellowship, till time
Bids us with candles climb
The little whitewashed stair
Above my lavender.

Same Cottage - but Another Song, of Another Season, for JD from M.B., August 4, 1917

with 1,000,000 apologies for this wicked echo of so lovely a poem.

Morning and night I found
White snow upon the ground,
And on the tragic well
Grey ice had cast her spell.
A dearth of wood and coal
Lay heavy on my soul.

My garden was a scene
Of weeds and nettles green,
My window-panes had holes
Through which, all night, lost souls
Peered from the desert road,
And starved cocks faintly crowed.

My path of cinders black
Had an abundant lack
Of visitors, till time
Bade us with boxes climb
The train that hurries on
To old warm Paddington



“John Drinkwater, poet and playwright,” Oakridge Archives, accessed May 20, 2024,

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