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Poem by Henry Sewell Stokes


Ruins of Restormel


DAY wanes apace, and yet the sun
Looks as if he had now begun
His course, returning from the west;
Oer Mawgan flames his golden crest,
Roughtors 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 heavens 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 Bodmins ancient town
And skirt the banks of Foweys clear stream,
And through the osiers see the gleam
Of scales would please old Waltons 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,
Lanhydrocks 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 moats broad marge,
And at each pace more fair and large
The antique pile grows on my sight,
Though sullen Times 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 ivys buckler green,
With stems like stalwart arms sustained:
Here else had little now remained
But heaps of stone, or mounds oergrown
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 oer 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.



Henry Sewell Stokes

Poem Theme: Castles

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


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