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

Bodrigan Castle

Bodrigan’s Leap

By Henry Sewell Stokes (1808–1895)

FROM Bosworth’s gory field where lay

His king a mangled corse,

With many a dint Sir Harry came,

And spurred his blood-stained horse;

Which all that day in that fierce fray

Had borne him proudly through,

But still for leagues must carry him,

Since fast the foes pursue.

From night to dawn they still went on,

With followers few and faint;

Resting brief while in forest drear

By well of some old saint:

On, on from day to day they fared,

Shunning each bower and hall,

Until they sight one starry night

Bodrigan’s castle wall.

The knight’s shrill blast is answered fast,

And blithe the warder greets him;

And with a smile and with a kiss

His lady-love soon meets him:

And in that high embrasured tower

His war-worn limbs may rest;

For place like that for wealth and power

Was not in all the West.

And many a century it stood

To prove its ancient fame;

Though but some lowly walls now bear

Bodrigan’s honored name.

Its princely hall, its bastions strong,

Its chapel turrets fair,

Are gone like cloud-built palaces,

And castles in the air.

Not long the respite: on his track

The Tudor bloodhounds follow;

Trevanion, Edgcumbe, with their pack

Creep through the woodland hollow:

And now they gather round the walls,

Nor care for Cornish kin;

Certain if they can seize the knight

His ample lands to win.

Ay, take the lands, but not the man!

He knows their purpose stern,

And not with his heart’s blood that day

Shall they their wages earn.

Down by a secret way the knight

Has left his home for aye,

And for the cliff he makes that hangs

Over the Goran bay.

Fast, fast they spring upon his path,

He hears their footsteps nigh;

Bold from the cliff he leaps, while shrill

The baffled hunters cry.

In the dark sea they think him drowned,

As on the giddy steep

They stand and look, and only see

The waters wild and deep.

They looked and jeered, and made the shore

Ring with their savage shout;

And still they looked, perchance to see

His dead bones tossed about:

And then they saw a boat dash through

The surge, and as she went

The rescued knight above the roar

His parting curses sent.