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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII. 1876–79.

Crichton Castle

Crichton Castle

By Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)

(From Marmion)

AT length up that wild dale they wind,

Where Crichtoun Castle crowns the bank;

For there the Lion’s care assigned

A lodging meet for Marmion’s rank.

That Castle rises on the steep

Of the green vale of Tyne:

And far beneath, where slow they creep

From pool to eddy, dark and deep,

Where alders moist and willows weep,

You hear her streams repine.

The towers in different ages rose;

Their various architecture shows

The builders’ various hands;

A mighty mass, that could oppose,

When deadliest hatred fired its foes,

The vengeful Douglas bands.

Crichtoun! though now thy miry court

But pens the lazy steer and sheep,

Thy turrets rude, and tottered Keep,

Have been the minstrel’s loved resort.

Oft have I traced, within thy fort,

Of mouldering shields the mystic sense,

Scutcheons of honor or pretence,

Quartered in old armorial sort,

Remains of rude magnificence.

Nor wholly yet had time defaced

Thy lordly gallery fair;

Nor yet the stony cord unbraced,

Whose twisted notes, with roses laced,

Adorn thy ruined stair.

Still rises unimpaired, below,

The courtyard’s graceful portico;

Above its cornice, row and row

Of fair hewn facets richly show

Their pointed diamond form,

Though there but houseless cattle go,

To shield them from the storm.

And, shuddering, still may we explore,

Where oft whilom were captives pent,

The darkness of thy Massy More;

Or, from thy grass-grown battlement,

May trace, in undulating line,

The sluggish mazes of the Tyne.