"Cassel" [poem]
THE way was long, and yet ʼtwas sweet,—
Through many a shady, soft retreat,
Where the broad willow semblance gave
Of weeping beauty to the wave;
And elm, with massy foliage prest,
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And feathery aspenʼs quivering crest;
And many a spiry poplar glade,
And hazelʼs rich entangled shade:
While, onward as advancing still
From Omerʼs plain 1 to Casselʼs hill, 2
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Far—yet more far the landscape threw
Its deep, immeasurable blue.
Oh, beautiful those plains were showing,
Where summer sun was hotly glowing!
Many a battlefield lay spread—
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Once the dark dwelling of the dead:
But fruitful now their champaigns wave
With bending grain on soldierʼs grave.
While far beneath in long array
The priestly orders wound their way;
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Heavy the massive banners rolled,
Rich wrought with gems, and stiff with gold:
While, as the cross came borne on high
Beneath its crimson canopy,
Many the haughty head that bowed,—
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Sunk his high crest the warrior proud,
The priest his glance benignant cast,
And murmured blessings as he past;
While, round the hillside echoing free,
Rung the loud hymning melody.
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Many a monkish voice was there,—
Many a trumpet rent the air,—
And softer, sweeter, yet the same,
The sounds in failing cadence came.
No marvel that the pomp and pride
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Of Romeʼs religion thus should hide
The serpent‐folds beneath that robe,
The poison mantling in the bowl. 3