Near Elkton in Rockingham County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Alexander Spotswood Discovers the Valley of the Shenandoah
Twelve men I chose to see the waiting land,
Where the rivers are jeweled in sunlight,
And the hills are a deep blue ocean with living spars
Of pine to catch the clouds and spread white sail.
My band, Knights of the Golden Horse Shoe,
I led upon a phantom trail
Where torrents blocked the way;
A cloud of dew came down by night, the sun was fire by day.
We followed writhing paths
Where fountains broke through stone; we drank
The crystal courage of the hills, and bowed to thank
The hand of Might that blended brawn and wonder,
And hid his handicraft behind a silver veil
That welded earth and sky.
Only the Savage knew the unmarked trail;
His ear had caught the music under ground
Made audible in water,
His eye had found the shadow-print of moss against a tree.
We stumbled on, up scarp and jagged boulder
And down the wet ravines, and up again we fought
Until one dawn we stood upon a Titanís shoulder,
And saw—beyond the blue unchallenged hills
That bore no trace of sorrow or of wars—
† † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † —Gertrude Claytor
Erected 1934 by the Virginia State Commission on Conservation & Development.
Location. 38° 21.462′ N, 78° 32.831′ W. Marker is near Elkton, Virginia, in Rockingham County. Marker is at the intersection of Spotswood Trail (U.S. 33) and Skyline Drive, on the right when traveling east on Spotswood Trail. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Elkton VA 22827, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. “Sic Juvat Transcendere Montes” (here, next to this marker); Knights of the Golden Horseshoe (here, next to this marker); Greene County / Rockingham County (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Civilian Conservation Corps (approx. 3Ĺ miles away); Newtown (East Elkton) School (approx. 4.9 miles away); Miller-Argabright-Cover-Kite House (approx. 5.1 miles away); Jennings House (approx. 5.3 miles away); First Settler (approx. 5.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Elkton.
More about this marker. This poem was written by Virginia poet Gertrude B. Claytor (1888–1973). Mrs. Claytor was born in Staunton and raised in Roanoke. She published poetry in periodicals beginning in the late 1920s. This poem can be found in her 1951 collection Sunday in Virginia and Other Poems.
Also see . . . The Knights of the Horse-Shoe; A Traditionary Tale of the Cocked Hat Gentry in the Old Dominion. 1845 book by William Alexander Caruthers (1802–1846). (Submitted on August 26, 2007.)
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Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 22, 2007, by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,310 times since then and 46 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week August 26, 2007. Photos: 1. submitted on July 22, 2007, by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia. 2. submitted on October 7, 2007, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 3. submitted on July 22, 2007, by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.