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Poem by William Motherwell


Cruxtoun Castle


THOU gray and antique tower,
Receive a wanderer of the lonely night,
Whose moodful sprite
Rejoices at this witching time to brood
Amid thy shattered strengths dim solitude!
It is a fear-fraught hour,
A deathlike stillness reigns around,
Save the wood-skirted rivers eerie sound,
And the faint rustling of the trees that shower
Their brown leaves on the stream,
Mournfully gleaming in the moons pale beam:
O, I could dwell forever and forever
In such a place as this, with such a night!
When oer thy waters and thy waving woods
The moonbeams sympathetically quiver,
And no ungentle thing on thee intrudes,
And every voice is dumb, and every object bright!

*        *        *        *        *

Relique of earlier days,
Yes, dear thou art to me!
And beauteous, marvellously,
The moonlight strays
Where banners glorious floated on thy walls 
Clipping their ivied honors with its thread
Of half-angelic light;
And though oer thee Times wasting dews have shed
Their all-consuming blight,
Maternal moonlight falls
On and around thee full of tenderness,
Yielding thy shattered frame pure loves divine caress.

*        *        *        *        *

Light feet have trod
The soft, green, flowering sod
That girdles thy baronial strength, and traced,
All gracefully, the labyrinthine dance;
Young hearts discoursed with many a passionate glance,
While rose and fell the Minstrels thrilling strain
(Who, in this iron age, might sing in vain, 
His largesse coarse neglect, and mickle pain!)
Waste are thy chambers tenantless, which long
Echoed the notes of gleeful minstrelsie, 
Notes once the prelude to a tale of wrong,
Of royalty and love. Beneath yon tree,
Now bare and blasted,so our annals tell, 
The martyr queen, ere that her fortunes knew
A darker shade than cast her favorite yew,
Loved Darnley passing well, 
Loved him with tender womans generous love,
And bade farewell awhile to courtly state
And pageantry for yon oershadowing grove,
For the lone rivers banks where small birds sing, 
Their little hearts with summer joys elate, 
Where tall broom blossoms, flowers profusely spring;
There he, the most exalted of the land,
Pressed, with the grace of youth, a sovereigns peerless hand.

*        *        *        *        *



William Motherwell

Poem Theme: Castles

William Motherwell's other poems:
  1. Wae Be to the Orders
  2. The Midnight Wind
  3. Wearies Well
  4. Sweet Earlsburn, Blithe Earlsburn
  5. Jeanie Morrison


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