Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Barnard Castle

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.

Barnard Castle

Barnard Castle

By Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)

(From Rokeby)

THE MOON is in her summer glow,

But hoarse and high the breezes blow,

And, racking o’er her face, the cloud

Varies the tincture of her shroud;

On Barnard’s towers and Tees’s stream

She changes as a guilty dream,

When Conscience with remorse and fear

Goads sleeping Fancy’s wild career.

Her light seems now the blush of shame,

Seems now fierce anger’s darker flame,

Shifting that shade, to come and go,

Like apprehension’s hurried glow;

Then sorrow’s livery dims the air,

And dies in darkness, like despair.

Such varied hues the warder sees

Reflected from the woodland Tees,

Then from old Baliol’s tower looks forth,

Sees the clouds mustering in the north,

Hears upon turret-roof and wall

By fits the plashing rain-drop fall,

Lists to the breeze’s boding sound,

And wraps his shaggy mantle round.


Far in the chambers of the west,

The gale had sighed itself to rest;

The moon was cloudless now and clear,

But pale, and soon to disappear.

The thin gray clouds wax dimly light

On Brusleton and Houghton height;

And the rich dale, that eastward lay,

Waited the wakening touch of day,

To give its woods and cultured plain,

And towers and spires, to light again.

But, westward, Stanmore’s shapeless swell,

And Lunedale wild, and Kelton-fell,

And rock-begirdled Gilmanscar,

And Arkingarth, lay dark afar;

While, as a livelier twilight falls,

Emerge proud Barnard’s bannered walls.

High crowned he sits, in dawning pale,

The sovereign of the lovely vale.

What prospects, from his watchtower high,

Gleam gradual on the warder’s eye!—

Far sweeping to the east, he sees

Down his deep woods the course of Tees,

And tracks his wanderings by the steam

Of summer vapors from the stream;

And ere he pace his destined hour

By Brackenbury’s dungeon-tower,

These silver mists shall melt away,

And dew the woods with glittering spray.

Then in broad lustre shall be shown

That mighty trench of living stone,

And each huge trunk that, from the side,

Reclines him o’er the darksome tide,

Where Tees, full many a fathom low,

Wears with his rage no common foe;

For pebbly bank, nor sand-bed here,

Nor clay-mound, checks his fierce career,

Condemned to mine a channelled way

O’er solid sheets of marble gray.

Nor Tees alone, in dawning bright,

Shall rush upon the ravished sight;

But many a tributary stream

Each from its own dark dell shall gleam:

Staindrop, who, from her sylvan bowers,

Salutes proud Raby’s battled towers;

The rural brook of Egliston,

And Balder, named from Odin’s son:

And Greta, to whose banks erelong

We lead the lovers of the song;

And silver Lune, from Stanmore wild,

And fairy Thorsgill’s murmuring child,

And last and least, but loveliest still,

Romantic Deepdale’s slender rill.

Who in that dim-wood glen hath strayed,

Yet longed for Roslin’s magic glade?

Who, wandering there, hath sought to change

Even for that vale so stern and strange,

Where Cartland’s Crags, fantastic rent,

Through her green copse like spires are sent?

Yet, Albin, yet the praise be thine,

Thy scenes and story to combine!

Thou bid’st him who by Roslin strays

List to the deeds of other days;

Mid Cartland’s Crags thou show’st the cave,

The refuge of thy champion brave;

Giving each rock its storied tale,

Pouring a lay for every dale,

Knitting, as with a moral band,

Thy native legends with thy land,

To lend each scene the interest high

Which genius beams from Beauty’s eye.