[Page [253]]



1 NOW the full moon departed day supplies,
2 Her ray serene invites me here to stray:
3 Hail her in azure, queen of spangled skies;
4 And bless the chearer of the traveller's way.
5 But chief, beneath these venerable towers,
6 I find the scenes for contemplation fraught;
7 Congenial scenes to solitary hours,
8 Congenial to the muse of pensive thought.
9 Within yon grates, now twinkling lights dispense
10 Their little blaze, to those who durance 'bide;
11 Along those battlements the moon beams glance,
12 And o'er that awful portal shadows glide.
[Page 254]
13 Thou ancient pile! whose founder sleeps unknown,
14 But since to ages, first he gave his plan,
15 Full many a change has Britain's empire shewn,
16 And pass'd has many a race of feeble man.
17 How far remote, tradition spares to say;
18 Nor found its date in legend's fertile page;
19 But mould'ring time has wrought it no decay;
20 Nor has it felt the shock of hostile rage.
21 While low full many a noble fabric lies;
22 By savage fray, or time subdu'd at length;
23 Genius still kind to thee its aid supplies
* The grand and useful improvements making by Mr. Harrison, will long bear an honourable testimony to his genius.
24 Adds grandeur to thy grandeur, strength to strength.
25 Here station'd, to her gods their altars rose
An altar dedicated to Mars has been found in making the present improvements.
26 When Rome of Britain took her transient hold;
27 This site, her skilful warriors early chose;
28 And seated here, annoy'd the foe so bold
The Caledonians.
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29 When jarring nations and long time had pass'd,
30 This front thy royal Gaunt thus bid arise;
31 Summon'd some H n, in gothic taste,
32 With solemn grandeur to attract all eyes.
33 Sublime thy fabric, and how fair around,
34 Survey'd by day the lovely view appears!
35 But faded now, as memory's tints are found,
36 When it would draw for age its youthful years.
37 Tho' distant hills are wrapp'd in clouds of night,
38 And vivid colours mix in graver shade;
39 Where first I breath'd the air and saw the light,
40 With rapture still, my native town's survey'd.
41 Oft from its streets my eye well pleas'd I cast,
42 On verdant hills, whence rose its early name
* The Saxon name was Green Town.
43 And still, a little tribute to the past,
44 It yet retains, in part, its ancient claim
That part of Lancaster called Green Aer.
45 Here oft in infancy with awe I've trod,
46 Hearing of secret caverns deep and drear;
47 And many a winding subterranean road,
48 Wond'ring why man his fellow man should fear?
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49 Quitting the calm serene that sooths around,
50 Within these walls humanity shall turn;
51 Think on the holds where human misery's found,
52 And ask for whom those glimmering tapers burn.
53 Some there, perhaps, were rear'd with fondest pride,
54 Wore rich attire, and fed on costly fare;
55 But now, of common liberty denied,
56 And the free current of the vital air.
57 Ye fallen! where are now those crouded calls,
58 That throng'd from dissipation's giddy train?
59 Say, need there massy bolts and lofty walls,
60 To banish friends when fortune's on the wane?
61 But scenes more solemn still attend my way,
62 As thro' the church-yard path I pensive tread;
63 Yon gloomy towers, alas! no light display,
64 And all is silent as the sleeping dead.
65 Save where a shriek for mercy strikes the ear,
* The convicts under sentence of death.
66 Which ah! if pity hear, it hears in vain;
67 For daring vice is stopp'd in mad career,
68 And awful justice holds its rigid reign.
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69 O'er sanguinary laws the good must mourn,
70 And breathe a wish, that nations, generous, great,
71 To other modes, for warning soon would turn,
72 And death assign but for the murderer's fate.
73 Oh ye whose nights are ease, and days delight,
74 Think on the prisoner in his lonely cell;
75 Within whose heart, thro' all his long dark night,
76 Bitter reflections, sad forebodings dwell.
77 Him, his fond mother nurs'd with tender love,
78 Joy'd in his growth, guarded his health with care,
79 Thought not of hardship, when for him she strove,
80 And for his good her little all would spare.
81 Alas! a tempting world seduced his youth,
82 And from a virtuous course his heart could steal,
83 Maternal tears he scorn'd and warning truth,
84 Which adds a pang to all he's doom'd to feel.
85 He thro' his days of bondage deeply mourns,
86 Waters his little garden with his tears
* The Crown Prisoners in Lancaster Castle have small gardens.
87 In thought, to times of innocence returns,
88 When simple pleasures charm'd his harmless years.
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89 Ye good, with gentle counsels calm his heart!
90 Increase his comforts, you, where much is given,
91 Spare tears from fictions, pity here impart,
92 From follies spare, to take your hold on Heaven!
93 H n, to thee my Muse glad tribute pays,
94 Long ere thy gentle spirit is set free;
95 Be painful duties soothed by general praise,
96 And soft humanity dispensed by thee.
97 May all who bind the bonds the wretched bear,
98 And hold dominion in their sad abode;
99 With lenient hand fulfil their task severe,
100 And have their mercy shewn, to plead with God.
101 May thy pitying spirit here pervade,
102 Howard, thy generous efforts still avail;
103 The cell of bondage fewer woes invade,
104 For man with man may mercy still prevail.
105 With Howard's name revered my song shall close,
106 For him what trophies shall Britannia raise?
107 In distant lands his ashes must repose,
108 Her prisons be his monuments of praise.


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Title (in Source Edition): LANCASTER CASTLE, BY MOONLIGHT.
Author: Eliza Day
Genres: occasional poem; heroic quatrain

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Daye, Eliza, b. ca. 1734. Poems, on Various Subjects. Liverpool: Printed by J. M'Creery, 1798, pp. [253]-258. [2],x,[4],258p.; 8° (ESTC T132359) (Page images digitized by University of California Libraries.)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

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