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Dunluce Castle*

To-day from all thy ruined walls
   The flowers wave flags of truce;
For Time has proved thy conqueror,
   And tamed thy strength, Dunluce!

Lords of the Skerries' cruel rocks,*
  Masters of sea and shore. 
Marauders in their clanking mail
   Ride from thy gates no more.

Thy dungeons are untenanted.
   Thy captives are set free;
The daisy, with sweet childish face,
   Keeps watch across the sea.

Thy halls are open to the sky.
   Thy revelry has ceased;
The echoes of thy mirth have died
   With fires that lit the feast.

What keepers of thy secrets old
   Flit through the wind and rain!
What stern-faced ghosts have come by night
   To visit thee again!

Grim fortress of the Northern sea.
   Lost are they power and pride;
Within thy undefended walls
   The folded sheep abide.

NOTES

"Dunluce Castle" first appeared in Harper's Magazine (67:924) November 1883.  An altered version of the first 3 stanzas appeared under this title in Verses, 1916.  The illustration is by Charles Graham (1852-1911), sketch artist, illustrator and painter.  He was western illustrator for Harper's (1877-1892) and official artist for the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893.  (Source:  Who Was Who in American Art, 1999).

Dunluce Castle:  near Ballycastle, County Antrim, in Ireland.  This 14th-century castle is "situated on a rock separated from the mainland by a chasm, which is spanned by a footbridge."  (Source: Britannica Online).  Jewett visited Ireland in the summer of 1882.

Skerries:  "A rugged insulated sea-rock or stretch of rocks, covered by the sea at high water or in stormy weather; a reef."  (Source: Oxford English Dictionary).

Edited and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.
 

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