"Lille" [poem]
OH, red the blushing east awoke,
And bright the morn on Cassel broke;
Along the green hillside we flew;
Flashed the clear sunshine in the dew
That on the clustering herbage hung,—
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That to the tangled copse‐wood clung,—
That shot like stars through every shade,
And glanced on every wildwood glade.
At length, by many a wind descending
That ever to the plain were bending
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Farther, and farther still, we pressed
From Casselʼs insulated 1 crest,
That, back retiring, fainter still
Showed the rich outlines of its hill,
And faded in the purple haze
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That spoke the coming noontide blaze.
That noontide blaze delayed not long;
On Tournayʼs towʼrs 2 ʼtwas fierce and strong,
And, ere we gained the middle way,
The glow was like an Afric day.
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Full upon Lilleʼs high ramparts round, 3
On massive wall and moated mound,
Shot the fierce sun his glaring ray,
As bent we on our burning way:
Till past the narrow drawbridge length—
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The massive gatesʼ portcullised strength,
And moat, whose waves found steepy shore 4
Where forward high the bastion bore; 5
And where the sentinels were set
High on the dizzy parapet:
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Till the last portals echoes woke,
And Lille upon us sudden broke,
Giving to view another scene,
So clear, so noble, so serene,
ʼTwould seem enchantmentʼs varied hue
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On palace, street, and avenue.
Those ancient piles rose huge and high
In rich irregularity;
Colossal form and figure fair
Seemed moving, breathing, living there.
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The vaulted arch, where sunlight pure
Might never pierce the deep obscure,—
Where broadly barred, the ancient door
Was with such carving imaged oʼer,—
The bending Gothic gable‐roof
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Of past magnificence gave proof;
The modern windowʼs formal square
With Saxon arch was mingled there,
Whose stern recesses, dark and deep,
The figured iron stanchions 6 keep.
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