Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ODE TO LUDLOW CASTLE, by LUCY AIKEN

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ODE TO LUDLOW CASTLE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Proud pile! That rearest thy hoary head
Last Line: The remnant of the storm.
Alternate Author Name(s): Aikin, Lucy
Subject(s): Castles; Ludlow, England; Ruins

PROUD pile! that rearest thy hoary head
In ruin vast, in silence dread,
Over Teme's luxuriant vale,
Thy moss-grown halls, thy precincts drear,
To musing Fancy's pensive ear
Unfold a varied tale.

When Terror stalked the prostrate land
With savage Cambria's ruthless band,
Beneath thy frowning shade,
Mixt with the grazers of the plain,
The plundered, helpless, peasant train
In sacred ward were laid.

From yon high tower the archer drew
With steady hand the twanging yew,
While, fierce in martial state,
The mailed host in long array,
With crested helms and banners gay,
Burst from the thundering gate.

In happier times, how brightly blazed
The hearth with ponderous billets raised,
How rung the vaulted halls,
When smoked the feast, when care was drowned,
When songs and social glee went round --
Where now the ivy crawls!

'Tis past! the marcher's princely court,
The strength of war, the gay resort,
In mouldering silence sleeps;
And over the solitary scene
While Nature hangs her garlands green,
Neglected Memory weeps.

The Muse too weeps: -- in hallowed hour
Here sacred Milton owned her power,
And woke to nobler song;
The wizard's baffled wiles essayed,
Here first the pure majestic maid
Subdued the enraptured throng.
But see! beneath yon shattered roof
What mouldy cavern, sun-beam proof,
With mouth of horror yawns ?

O sight of grief! O ruthless doom!
On that deep dungeon's solid gloom
Nor hope nor daylight dawns.
Yet there, at midnight's sleepless hour,
While boisterous revels shook the tower,
Bedewed with damps forlorn,
The warrior-captive pressed the stones,
And lonely breathed unheeded moans,
Despairing of the morn.

That too is past: unsparing Time,
Stern miner of the tower sublime,
Its night of ages broke;
Freedom and Peace with radiant smile
Now carol over the dungeon vile
That cumbrous ruins choke.

Proud relic of the mighty dead!
Be mine with shuddering awe to tread
Thy roofless, weedy hall;
And mark, with fancy's kindling eye,
The steel-clad ages gliding by
Thy feudal pomp recall.

Peace to thy stern heroic age!
No stroke of wild unhallowed rage
Assail thy tottering form!
We love, when smiles returning day,
In cloudy distance to survey
The remnant of the storm.

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