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Poem by James Clarence Mangan

The Ruins of Donegal Castle

O MOURNFUL, O forsaken pile,
  What desolation dost thou dree!
How tarnished is the beauty that was thine erewhile,
  Thou mansion of chaste melody!

Demolished lie thy towers and halls;
  A dark, unsightly, earthen mound
Defaces the pure whiteness of thy shining walls,
  And solitude doth gird thee round.

Fair fort! thine hour has come at length,
  Thine older glory has gone by.
Lo! far beyond thy noble battlements of strength,
  Thy corner-stones all scattered lie!

Where now, O rival of the gold
  Emania, be thy wine-cups all?
Alas! for these thou now hast nothing but the cold,
  Cold stream that from the heavens doth fall!

Thy clay-choked gateways none can trace,
  Thou fortress of the once bright doors!
The limestones of thy summit now bestrew thy base,
  Bestrew the outside of thy floors.

Above thy shattered window-sills
  The music that to-day breaks forth
Is but the music of the wild winds from the hills,
  The wild winds of the stormy North!

What spell oercame thee, mighty fort,
  What fatal fit of slumber strange,
O palace of the wine! O many-gated court!
  That thou shouldst undergo this change?

Thou wert, O bright-walled, beaming one,
  Thou cradle of high deeds and bold,
The Tara of Assemblies to the sons of Con,
  Clan-Connells Council-hall of old!

Thou wert a new Emania, thou!
  A northern Cruachan in thy might,
A dome like that which stands by Boynes broad water now,
  Thou Erins Rome of all delight!

In thee were Ulsters tributes stored,
  And lavished like the flowers in May;
And into thee were Connaughts thousand treasures poured,
  Deserted though thou art to-day!

How often from thy turrets high,
  Thy purple turrets, have we seen
Long lines of glittering ships, when summer-time drew nigh,
  With masts and sails of snow-white sheen!

How often seen, when gazing round
  From thy tall towers, the hunting trains,
The blood-enlivening chase, the horseman and the hound,
  Thou fastness of a hundred plains!

How often to thy banquets bright
  We have seen the strong-armed Gaels repair,
And when the feast was over, once again unite
  For battle, in thy bass-court fair!

Alas for thee, thou fort forlorn!
  Alas for thy low, lost estate!
It is my woe of woes, this melancholy morn,
  To see thee left thus desolate!

James Clarence Mangan

Poem Theme: Castles

James Clarence Mangan's other poems:
  1. Kathaleen Ny-Houlahan
  2. Lament for Banba
  3. Duhallow
  4. O'Hussey's Ode to the Maguire
  5. Dark Rosaleen

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