Scent of the Moors in Literature

Furze and Gorse There is a little Breton village not far from the city of L'orient, which is conceded by those who love it best to be very much out of the world. Perched high upon a rocky fastness of the moor, like the topmost stone of a diadem, it looks forth upon ridge after ridge of billowing moorland, of which each summit is strewn with rock, each slope made green with wire grass and furze. When the wind blows from the south, a faint breath of the sea mingles with the scent of heather and gorse, for away to the south, so far away that the grey of its waters melts indistinguishably into the grey horizon, lies the great, unquiet s.ea, which here beats fiercely on its shores.
M├ędoc in the Moor
By Georgia Willis Read

Sitting upon the dwarf wall adjoining the garden he smoked in peace, watching the yellow-brown of gorse-strewn hills against blue sky counterchange their colouring until they stood out misty blue against a yellow sunset. Then night shut down, and its wondrous stillness magnified distant sounds to importance. Far down the valley some nightjar's endless whirr replaced the cuckoo's husky note of June; amongst the rocks and bushes by the stream a fox barked hoarsely, and up the hill behind the house a leveret squealed in fear. His tobacco soothed him; the air was sweet with gorse and heather bloom, and a downward waft brought the brave smell of wood-smoke from his new-lit fire. Every sound and scent of the night recalled his boyhood, and he was filled with silent thankfulness for rest; but through all nature's voices he heard again that softer voice that had pleaded for him the night before, and each new star that, faintly twinkling in the blue, waxed slowly as the night drew on, recalled the brightness of a pair of eyes.
Lethbridge of the moor
By Maurice Drake

Now after a tedious two miles of stiffish collarwork we emerged right on the top of the moors, and a goodly prospect was before us. It was a glorious bit of moorland—a glowing expanse of purple heather, bestrewn with weather-scarred rocks, all grey and lichen-stained; and here and there we noticed a brilliant yellow flower, whose name was unknown to us, and many a bright bit of gorse, whose 'deathless bloom' told out well amongst the green, and grey, and purple around. The peculiar odour of the gorse, too; how fragrant it seemed! wafted to us on the open air (though so sickly in a room)—an odour I can only liken to a mixed scent of cocoanut and pineapple. As we drove along we noticed many bilberry wires, with their wax-like leaves and wine-stained fruit—a fruit in tarts not to be despised.
A drive through England; or, A thousand miles of road travel
By James John Hissey

Let us stand one little moment longer, before we say farewell to it, at the dark edge of Haworth Moor. Again old thoughts come thronging back on one—old thoughts, and with them the sounds and scents of many yesterdays. The whistle of the North-Wester as it sweeps through the dried husks of last year's ling -the tongues of flame that start from the red mouth of the storm-sky—the thunder crash that dies in stifled growls among the black moor hollows—the reckless, sun-smitten glory of the August heather—the sob of rain-winds in November—the grey forlornness of the hill-mists—the ceaseless patter-patter patter of the drops upon the red-rust of the bracken—all these rise from the buried years and live for us again as we look out across the heath. These, and the bittersweet scent of the marshes, the lush reek of mistals, the savour of sweet upland grass as it falls in grey-green swathes to the music of the moor men's scythes. Scents, more than any sound or sight, are apt to stir the heart of a man—a magic and a charm they have to awaken slumbering memories and half-forgotten dreams; and, as we stand at the moor-edge here, it is the crisp of the marshland breath, soft-creeping from the heath, that brings dead Haworth back to us with swift and overmastering distinctness. We have had the last backward glance we craved; and it has grown harder still to say good-bye. Glamour of wind and rain and changeful sky —glamour of story, of hates and loves that were reared in the wind-wild open—how can one leave this memory haunted corner of the moors?
By moor and fell: landscape and lang-settle lore from West Yorkshire
By Halliwell Sutcliffe

Redmoor is the vast plateau of heathery waste, underneath whose southern promontory nestle Redcombe Village and Manor. A health-giving and glorious spot at all times — for even in winter the fir-woods (thanks to old Walter Stanhope of Curlew Hall) on north and east enable one to stand and admire the wide prospect in comparative shelter — but in summer-time the moor is rare and beautiful indeed. The soft, strong air that is almost always abroad upon it, is then laden with the scent of the fir, and sweeps over a prairie of purple and (where the gorse grows) of gold. The highway, along which we accompanied Anthouy Blackburn on his return to his old home, divides this gorgeous table-land in twain; but now that the coaches are off the road, and all the world is drawn to and from Mosedale by the steam-horse, it has become but a local track, and there are but few passengers. When the two girls had reached the top of the winding hill that led up from the village, and could command the whole expanse of the moor, there was not a moving speck upon this road to be seen. In the extreme distance rose the circular embankment, that ought by rights, in order to have harmonized with the general tone of the landscape, to have been a Roman encampment, but which we have seen to attract old Anthony's notice as an erection of quite a modern date. On the east lay the vast plantation in the centre of which stood Curlew Hall; but from their present stand-point the house could not be seen, nor, save for the faint smoke-wreath that hung over distant Mosedale, was there a sign of human habitation anywhere.
The living age, Volume 102
By Eliakim Littell, Robert S. Littell

It was a glorious afternoon in late July. The hum of insect life seemed to flood the whole moor; the scent of mown hay and wild thyme, and late hawthorn blossom from the trees on the edge of the moor, was heavy in the air, and the sun was very hot, and still high in the heavens. The hills that bordered the moor drowsed and brooded, like ancient gods, clothed in a lordly radiance that was slowly consuming them as they meditated upon their coming oblivion.
The underworld: the story of Robert Sinclair, miner
By James C. Welsh

The moor is wild and vacant enough, however, and he who loves solitude may have his fill of it, if he keeps out of a few beaten paths, like the Doone Valley. As far as he can see, nothing appears to him but the moor, swelling with the softest curves and dressed with heather, gorse and the trembling plumes of bracken; the sprinkled gold of the gorse is lost sight of in the rich flood of purple heather, but the scent of both is blown through the air by the sea wind, for the moor ends on its nothern edge in a wall of cliffs. White mountains of clouds float over him; he hears the bleating of sheep, and sees the gulls circling from the shelves of the precipice. He may have all this world to himself day after day, and thus be nursed by the wind and the clouds. Nothing will break his isolation but the bark of a collie, or, towards evening, the chatter of some fruit gatherers who are going home with baskets of blackberries and whortleberries.
The New England magazine, Volume 10

We have no other combination of British flowers which gives one such a sense of freedom as the wild fragrance of a heath or moor in full heather bloom! Eliza Cook's lines express the feelings of many who love the breezy hills :—

"Wild blossoms of the moorland, ye are very dear to me;
Ye lure my dreaming memory as clover does the bee;
Ye bring back all my childhood loved, when freedom, joy
and health
Had never thought of wearing chains to fetter fame and
wealth.
Wild blossoms of the common land, brave tenants of the earth,
Your breathings were among the first that helped my spirit's
birth;
For how my busy brain would dream, and how my heart
would burn,
Where Gorse and Heather flung their arms above the forest
fern."
Mountain and moor
By John Ellor Taylor