Ernest Jasper Hinds

 

The Old Stone Mill  

     – Ernest Jasper Hinds

 

Built high upon a sea-beholding hill,   

Defiant, quaint, impenetrable, still,  

Mysterious enigma of the years,  

There stands the ruin of an ancient mill. 

 

Did old Red Eric Warlock, stern and bold  

Or some wild sea wolf of the days of old,  

Build here a bower for his lady love,  

A shelter here to shield her from the cold? 

 

Or did some prehistoric race of man  

Some colony from far-off  Yucatan,  

Erect a summer palace for their King,  

For thus the Red Men's ancient legend ran. 

 

If Christian white men built this tower so tall,  

Why did they put those altars in its wall?  

And why the pagan symbols south and north?  

Or why the need for building it at all? 

 

But Newport, smiling in her summer dress,  

Smiles on, and hazards many a guess  

To read the riddle of her ancient mill  

And with her matchless beauty all to bless. 

 

And thou, Oh Newport, goddess of the sea,  

How oft thine absent lovers yearn for thee,  

When they perchance have wandered far afield,  

What joy once more thy storied cliffs to see.  

 

To see thy breakers marching row on row,  

To feel the sharp pull of the undertow,  

To hear the sun-browned children shout in glee,  

While ceaselessly the bathers come and go. 

 

What mem'ries linger round this hallowed hill,  

Guarded by Channing and Perry still,  

And Newport, queen of fair Aquidneck Isle,  

Ever the same shall guard her old Old Stone Mill.         

 

from:

Hinds, Ernest Jasper. "The Old Stone Mill,"  147-48.  In Newport Poems. Boston: Christopher Publishing House, 1942.

 

A native of East Boston, Hinds came to Newport at the age of 28, shortly after his marriage to Mary Richardson of Northampton, MA, in 1918. Employed at the Naval Torpedo Station, he subsequently served as the sexton of Channing Memorial Church until two years before his death in 1945 at the age of 74.