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THE CORNISH COAST, by             Poem Explanation        
First Line: Far in the west a windy music rings
Last Line: The beacons of a nobler earth to be.
Subject(s): History; Historians

FAR in the west a windy music rings
The names of citadels of dim renown --
Of Lyonnesse, the sunken beach of Kings,
Tintagel's height, and mystic Uther's crown.

It tells of fights a thousand years ago,
Of banners waving round the rocky wall;
The strifes of heroes, and their overthrow,
When the same surges wail'd for Arthur's fall!

Old monks are chaunting, in forgotten towers,
To kneeling knights; and, under shade, is seen
Launcelot, stealing from the royal bowers,
With guilty Guinevere, the glorious queen.

High on the guarded mount the archangel's sword
Wrathfully gleams on Marazion's spoil;
And ruin'd chieftains cross the craggy ford,
While grim Tregeagle plies his endless toil.

The wraiths of ages pass, of leagued crusades,
Plantagenet, and stately Tudor days;
With fleeing foemen, and with mourning maids,
And rival Roses sung in vanish'd lays.

Fair, 'mid the changeful lights of stranded Time,
Are April spring-tides, mingling smiles and tears,
Serener loves that sue for softer rhyme,
Beauties that blush, like morning, through the years.

But the winds whistle to a sterner time,
The breakers boom along the barren shore,
Recalling in the notes of some wild rune,
Th' invader's pride, th' avenging battle's roar.

I see the galleons of insulting Spain,
The sport of northern gales and English skiffs;
I hear the loud laugh of the Cornish main,
And Freedom shouting from her iron cliffs.

Another valour reigns, th' adventurous heart
Rifles from regions far the teeming shires,
The fastness falls, appears the thronging mart,
And, o'er the labouring mine, the furnace fires.

Still in dark nights the wrecking tempest raves,
That toss'd the Norland pirates of fierce fame;
While captains, loyal to their heaving graves,
Bear through the storm an undiminish'd name.

Fresh fancies stir us, as the ages roll;
Still, underneath the varying effort, lies,
Ebbing and flowing, the same human soul,
And the old Priest returns in altered guise.

These rocks re-echo the resounding voice
Of the great Preacher with the narrow creed,
Pressing our rich life to a single choice,
Yet serving hungry soil with fruitful seed.

A new day dawns, and grants a grander grace
Than thine, good shepherd of the Cornish fold;
We read the mighty records of our race,
And trust the eternal forces as of old.

We have the faith that's in the stars above --
The sky, the hills, the message of the sea,
Are signs of wonder, majesty, and love,
The beacons of a nobler earth to be.

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