Josian's Bower

Josian's Bower was a building in the Arcadian garden on Bevois Mount created by Charles Mordaunt, 3rd Earl of Peterborough (1658 – 1735) and his friend the nympholeptic poet Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744).

Although the garden room at the Richmond Inn is not on the exact location of Josian's Bower (it being outside the boundary of the garden) my good friend Carl and I like to imagine Belinda and the other nymphs bobbing about in the River Itchen before going up to the Bower to comb the poo out of their hair.

William Sotheby (1757 - 1833) lived at Bevois Mount House long after Pope, Peterborough and the lovely Anastasia had all died. Sotheby is remembered mainly for his translations of Virgil and Homer and for inspiring Byron to take the piss out of him in a really stylish way. But Sotheby liked to think back to Pope, who could at least have given Byron as good as he got.

A poem by William Sotheby:

Written at Bevis Mount, 1782

Whether I rest in peace, till life's decline,
Within thy bowers, oh lov'd retreat! or stray
Far from thy shades, my wandering steps away;
To thee, the Bard thou shelterest, shall consign
The meed most due, of this memorial line—
Not formed by vulgar hands, in waving way
Bend thy slope banks, and woods that dim the day.
These elms, that o'er my head their branches join,
A Hero planted, one whom conqu'ring Rome
Had proudly crown'd.—And underneath the gloom
Of yon old oak, a skilled magician sung:
Oft at his call, these sunny glades among
Thy guardian Sylphs, Belinda, sportive play'd,
And Eloisa sigh'd in yon sequester'd shade.