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

Restormel Castle

Ruins of Restormel

By Henry Sewell Stokes (1808–1895)

DAY wanes apace, and yet the sun

Looks as if he had now begun

His course, returning from the west;

O’er Mawgan flames his golden crest,

Roughtor’s dark brow is helmed with fire,

And the bluff headlands of Pentire

Like shields embossed with silver glow.

Glistening and murmuring as they flow,

Camel and Fowey seek different shores;

And north and south the eye explores

Two spreading seas of purple sheen,

That blend with heaven’s own depths serene.

Inland, from crag and bosky height

Hoar turrets spring like shafts of light,

While in the dales the deepening shades

Extend, and reach the forest glades.

Descending from the breezy down,

I turn from Bodmin’s ancient town

And skirt the banks of Fowey’s clear stream,

And through the osiers see the gleam

Of scales would please old Walton’s eye,

Did he with baited line pass by.

From the fair, hospitable roof

Which Vivian reared I keep aloof,

And pass, though few to leave would choose,

Lanhydrock’s stately avenues.

At last, as if some mystic power

Had in the greenwood built his tower,

Restormel to the gaze presents

Its range of lofty battlements:

One part in crypt-like gloom, the rest

Lit up as for a royal guest,

And crimson banners in the sky

Seem from the parapets to fly.

Where tapers gleamed at close of day

The sunset sheds its transient ray,

And carols the belated bird

Where once the vesper hymn was heard.

Slowly the sylvan mount I climb,

Like bard who toils at some tall rhyme;

And now I reach the moat’s broad marge,

And at each pace more fair and large

The antique pile grows on my sight,

Though sullen Time’s resistless might,

Stronger than storms or bolts of Heaven,

Through wall and buttress rents has riven;

And wider gaps had here been seen

But for the ivy’s buckler green,

With stems like stalwart arms sustained:

Here else had little now remained

But heaps of stone, or mounds o’ergrown

With nettles, or with hemlock sown.

Under the mouldering gate I pass,

And, as upon the thick, rank grass

With muffled sound my footstep falls,

Waking no echo from the walls,

I feel as one who chanced to tread

The solemn precincts of the dead.

There stood the ample hall, and here

The chapel did its altar rear;

All round the spacious chambers rose,

Now swept by every wind that blows.

By those stone stairs, abrupt and steep,

You reach the ramparts of the keep,

And thence may view, as I do now,

Through opening trees or arching bough

The distant town, its bridge and spire,

And hostel, which some most admire;

The valley with its sparkling wreath

Of ripples; the empurpled heath

Of downs o’er which the lark still trills;

The dusky underwoods; the hills,

Some plumed with lofty nodding trees,

And fringed with rich embroideries

Of clover, corn, or woodland flowers,

Some decked with granges, halls, and bowers.

O, not in all the Western land

From Morwenstowe to Kynance strand,

Can lovelier prospect charm the eye,

Yet with each rock-bound coast so nigh

That you can hear the billows roar,

And see the birds of ocean soar.