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Poem by Henry Sewell Stokes

Bodrigans Leap

FROM Bosworths 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
  Bodrigans castle wall.

The knights 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
  Bodrigans 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 hearts 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.

Henry Sewell Stokes

Poem Theme: Castles

Henry Sewell Stokes's other poems:
  1. The Ungracious Return
  2. The Burden of London
  3. Ruins of Restormel
  4. The Padstow Lifeboat

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