The Enchanted Castle       

 
A sea of sunlight rounds the crowning castle

That stands forever on the rocks of romance,

And there a pale impassioned prince is dying

Among the harps and lutes and words for music,

While in disguise outside the walls a gallant

Reins back his horse within a grove of cypress.

 

The scene no longer frames itself in cypress,

Now that the curious fill the broken castle,

And there is little likelihood a gallant

Would ride disguised unless made mad by romance,

For on the air we hear a common music,

And few have lutes to listen to when dying.

 

We live without concern among the dying,

And careless of enchantment fire the cypress,

And less and less have any need for music:

The lath and plaster palace seems a castle

Where gutter girls become the stars of romance:

The dignity of dogs alone is gallant.

 

The wars we hope to wage are always gallant.

There is no doubt that nothing comes of dying.

The rich who rob the poor give life its romance.

Do what you will: the coffin bars are cypress.

The loving state will rear a foolproof castle.

And midnight guns provide the final music.

 

These watch cries have a mean and brutal music

And none persuades the vulgar to be gallant,

Who would have sterile rooms to any castle,

Demand a godlike drug when they are dying,

And will a funeral fire of balm and cypress.

They rest in peace while being read a romance.

 

But that itself may be a kind of romance,

As there are different ways of making music,

And none may say that underneath the cypress

No murder mattered and that lust was gallant,

That princes moved through royal dreams on dying,

And dungeon roses climbed a godly castle.

 

The sunlight shines again and shows the castle

Mysterious above the sea: and romance

Stills the voice, since the heart of love is dying

Always behind a wall: and tinkling music

Sounds sad and far as what bemused a gallant.

There is no tree more tragic than the cypress.

 

The sea must still be seen through boughs of cypress,

For we are closed forever in the castle,

And wait as long to meet the hidden gallant,

Who half believes what he has heard of romance,

On harkening to the sudden silent music

That tells the time of day the time of dying.

 

Meanwhile in every moment we are dying:

Our life is not so green and gold as cypress

And fading often strikes false notes in music.

We praise too much the views within the castle

Instead of looking from the glass for romance:

And in our fear of falling are not gallant.

 

The blood of princes dances through the gallant

And brings them gravely courteous to their dying

And leaves them worthy for the words of romance,

While castellans as gardeners train the cypress,

So they betrothed by magic roam the castle

To pitch the airs of passage to their music.

 

But terror hangs upon the strings of music:

The instruments of passion rend the gallant,

And cries of suffering ring across the castle,

Exciting flights of memory in the dying:

And voices murmur through the mournful cypress

Where stand in shivering winds the ghosts of romance.

 

All passes and the empty page is romance

Where we resolve the harmonies of music

To play upon a plangent lute of cypress.

We give good day to each Godfearing gallant,

And grace the going home of all the dying

And wish ourselves away from this fair castle.

 

The sunset on the castle ends the romance

Sung by the prince there dying to his music.

The gallant rides through groves of ancient cypress.