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Many a rude tower and rampart there
Above the rest, a turret square
Did o'er its Gothic entrance bear,
Of sculpture rude, a stony shield;
And in the chief three mullets stood,
The cognizance of Douglas blood.
The turret held a narrow stair,
Which, mounted, gave you access where
Did seaward round the castle go;
Sometimes in platform broad extending,
Above the booming ocean leant
The far-projecting battlement;
The billows burst, in ceaseless flow,
Upon the precipice below.
Gate-works, and walls, were strongly manned
No need upon the sea-girt side ;
Were left in deepest solitude.
And, for they were so lonely, Clare
Would to these battlements repair,
And muse upon her sorrows there,
And list the sea-bird's cry;
Or slow, like noon-tide ghost, would glide
Look down with weary eye.
Oft did the cliff, and swelling main,
Recal the thoughts of Whitby's fane,
A home she ne'er might see again ;
For she had laid adown,
So Douglas bade, the hood and veil,
And frontlet of the cloister pale,
And Benedictine gown :
It were unseemly sight, he said,
A novice out of convent shade.
Now her bright locks, with sunny glow,
Again adorned her brow of snow;
Remained a cross with ruby stone ;
And often did she look
On that which in her hand she bore,
With velvet bound, and broidered o'er,
Her breviary book.
In such a place, so lone, so grim,
It fearful would have been,
To meet a form so richly dressed,
With book in hand, and cross on breast,
And such a woeful mien.
Fitz-Eustace, loitering with his bow,
And did by Mary swear,
A form so witching fair.
Once walking thus, at evening tide,
Her peaceful rule, where Duty, free,
Walks hand in hand with Charity;
Was it, that, seared by sinful scorn,
My heart could neither melt nor burn?
And well could brook the mild command,
That ruled thy simple maiden band.
* See Note.