Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Place names

Place names often preserve traces of past inhabitants and conquerors
of a given locality. One might say that place names are
topographical palimpsests or mementos. I was truck last night by the
last few verses of one of Wordsworth's poems:

Mark! how all things swerve
From their known course, or vanish like a dream;
Another language spreads from coast to coast;
Only perchance some melancholy Stream
And some indignant Hills old names preserve,
When laws, and creeds, and people all are lost!

From Monastery of Old Bangor (1821-22):