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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;
The cognizance of Douglas blood.
The turret held a narrow stair,
Which, mounted, gave you access where
Did seaward round the castle
Sometimes in dizzy steps descending,
Sometimes in platform broad extending,
Above the booming ocean leant
The far-projecting battlement;
Gate-works, and walls, were strongly manned,
And, for they were so lonely, Clare
Would to these battlements repair,
And list the sea-bird's cry;
Or slow, like noon-tide ghost, would glide
And ever on the heaving tide
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,
High vision, and deep mystery;
The very form of Hilda fair, *
Hovering upon the sunny air,
My heart could neither melt nor burn?
* See Note.