They bought up land, made marriages, dispossessed
tenants and built their fortune on rents.
These commissions mark their zenith. Since then,
the estate has been sold off acre by
acre, piece by piece – one Turner remains,
the other hangs in another museum.
Some things are unchanged: in the distance,
the house’s palladian exterior
in local sandstone, the round turreted
folly on the small island in the lake – an ancient
Cheshire mere. Gone are the fishing boats
tacking on the choppy water or anchored
in the pink stillness just after dawn.
Whatever fishes thrive are largely
unmolested and aircraft rise from Ringway
five miles or so to the north. But England
continues – consuming, class ridden.