John Scott of Amwell

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Portrait engraving for the title page of Scott's Poetical Works, 1782
I hate that drum’s discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round
To me it talks of ravag’d plains,
And burning towns, and ruin’d swains

John Scott (9 January 1731 – 12 December 1783), known as Scott of Amwell, was an English landscape gardener and writer on social matters. He was also the first notable Quaker poet, although in modern times he is remembered for only one anti-militarist poem.


  •   I hate that drum’s discordant sound,
      Parading round, and round, and round:
      To thoughtless youth it pleasure yields,
      And lures from cities and from fields,
      To sell their liberty for charms
      Of tawdry lace, and glittering arms;
      And when Ambition’s voice commands,
    To march, and fight, and fall, in foreign lands.
      I hate that drum’s discordant sound,
      Parading round, and round, and round:
      To me it talks of ravag’d plains,
      And burning towns, and ruin’d swains,
      And mangled limbs, and dying groans,
      And widows’ tears, and orphans’ moans;
      And all that Misery’s hand bestows,
    To fill the catalogue of human woes.
  • Where glossy pebbles pave the varied floors,
    And rough flint-walls are deck'd with shells and ores,
    And silvery pearls, spread o'er the roofs on high,
    Glimmer like faint stars in a twilight sky.
    • Poetical Works (1782), Epistle I. The Garden
  • There spread the wild rose, there the woodbine twin'd;
    There stood green fern, there o'er the grassy ground
    Sweet camomile and ale-hoof spread around;
    And centaury red, and yellow cinquefoil grew,
    And scarlet campion and cyanus blue;
    And tufted thyme, and marjoram's purple bloom,
    And ruddy strawberries yielding rich perfume.
    • Poetical Works (1782), Eclogue II. Palemon; or, Benevolence

Quotes about Scott

  • [N]one but a poet could have made such a garden.
    • Samuel Johnson, on visiting Scott's garden at Amwell;
      Quoted in Evelyn Noble Armitage, Quaker Poets (1896), p. 242
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