Sunday, October 14, 2012

History: Castle Gate and Victorian Poetry (1887)


“Stand, stranger, stand. The castle gate
Through which you pass to fairy land
Is mine to guard. What happy fate
Bids you within its border? Stand!”

Warder of this stately castle,
Stay the menace of your hand,
I am but a simple singer
Singing songs throughout the land.

Through the time-stained rugged portals
I can catch a glimpse afar,
Where the light shines on the woodland
Like the light of the morning star.

Let me pass, Oh stern-faced warder,
Through the wondrous castle gate;
Let me walk within the garden

Led by fancy and by fate.
For the sunlight and the moonlight
And the starlight, as they fall,
Seem replete with happy fancies
Making pictures on the wall.

Gateway to a happy valley,
Open wide and let my feet
Wander in the flowery meadows
Where the shining waters meet.

Frowning cliffs lift up to front me,
Sunset hues the rocks that rise,
But my eyes have caught a vision
Of green fields and violet skies.

Lying over Soldier Summit
In the valleys of the West,
With the bloom and Blush of Eden
Lying softly on their breast,

Vales of splendor, vales of beauty,
Meet to melt a heart of stone;
Vale of Tempe pales in glory
When beside they brightness shown.

Other lips have uttered fancies,
Other eyes on thee have shone,
Other feet have walked these meadows,
Passing through the gate of stone.

But my lips can not keep silence,
Or my eyes their rapture bate,
As they catch a glimpse of Eden
Through the cliff-crowned Castle Gate.

“Pass, stranger, pass, the olden time
Was full of song of mirth and cheer;
Sing any song that suits your rhyme,
And let it echo round the year.”
-From Rhymes of the Rockies, published by the Denver & Rio Grande Passenger Department.

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