Old Mother Shipton was an English prophetess born in 1488, in a cave in Yorkshire. She made great and famous predictions, including the Great Fire of London, The defeat of the Spanish Armada and even the end of the world. Her predictions (or ones purported to be hers) are written in rhyming couplets:
Around the world men’s thoughts will fly
Quick as the twinkling of an eye.
And water shall great wonders do
How strange. And yet it shall come true.
Inspired by this, I decided to write of my own visit to Yorkshire, to Mother Shipton’s Cave, Well and Spring, in rhyme! Enjoy.
Mother Shipton’s Cave – A Poem
And now a word, in uncouth rhyme
Of what occurred in future time
Did Old Mother Shipton ever foresee
Her own forthcoming popularity?
We travel for miles to see her Spring
Her Cave and Well many tourists bring
In their hoards to wonder and stare
At the mystical sights that still lie there.
You begin down a path, walking slow
To breathe in the landscape as you go
On one side the river Nidd goes laughing by
Rippling with pleasure under the warm blue sky
And on the right, delicate woodland grows
Over carpets of Ramsens which please the nose!
We walked up steps with a few other travellers
To be greeted by two familiar characters
Labyrinth knockers guarded the doors
Which of course were open for us to explore
As just behind them was a magical dell
And a trickling moss covered petrifying well!
Hanging from the rock face are various things
Like teapots, teddy bears and calcified crustaceans!
In the distant past it was not known
What turned these objects into stone
Was it witchcraft or devilry?
Or just that the water was minerally? (ridiculous rhyme I know, but it made me laugh so I couldn’t change it.)
Further along in a rocky enclave
Is the entrance to the Witch’s cave
She stands there now in hunchbacked glory
Where a voice from within tells you her story
Of how she foretold the end of things
And what the folly of mankind brings
But yet there is hope for each of us
As the legend of the wishing well goes thus:
Place within the waters the tip of your right hand
And your hopes and dreams are the wishing wells command
And so with all done we continued on our way
To see Knaresborough castle and complete our enchanted day.