There is not a spot in Moa’s Isle
Hath purer charms for me,
Than yonder lonely moldering pile,
Which beams in the bright sun a parting smile,
Ere he sinks in the western sea.
‘Tis a hollow’d spot, with its turrets of light,
That gleam in the glassy wave,
Where its image is mirror’d so calm and bright,
You would think it the work of enchanters might,
Raised up from the ocean grave.
There beams each hoary time-worn tower,
All bent with the weight of years,
Like godly Age, in his dying hour
Whilst sunny Hopes triumphant power
Dispels his doubts and fears.
There stands the holy, mouldering fane,
Where rest the sleeping dead,
Where they for ages, King have lain,
And slept the sleep that knows no pain,
Each in his grassy bed.
But roofless now is that holy pile,
And its arches rent and riven,
Yet, I love to tread its lonely aisle,
Where the footfall is only heard for the while
And muse on the things of Heaven;
For who could cherish dark thoughts of gloom
In a scene so bright and fair,
Where the sunbeams lighten the place of the tomb,
And gild the wild flowers that around us bloom,
Which offer their incense there.
But let us explore the ruins around,
And the castle’s long dungeon cells,
Where the royal lady lay fetted and bound,
(Till lingering death her fetters unwound),
Accus’d of Dark Magic spells.
And the room near the dim portcullis door,
Where the night watch oft was scar’d,
By the ‘Spectre Hound’ so famed of yore,
As told in his lay of minstral lore,
By Scotia’s brightest bard.
Then haste from the scenes of doubt and dread
On the battlement’s height to roam –
And gaze on the ocean’s tranquil bed,
Where the sunset’s purple hue are shed,
Unruffled by the billow’s foam;
Where the little pinnace, with white sails furl’d,
Seems asleep in the calm seas breast,
When not a breath the waves have curl’d –
One lonely spec on the watery world –
Like a living thing at rest.
And watch the sun’s declining ray,
As we sit on the grassy mound,
Until the sweet hour when twilight gray,
Casts her dim mantle o’er tower and bay,
And the ruined heaps around,
And the lengthening shadows begin to fall,
And the love bat wings his flight,
And the dismal owl begins to call,
And hoot to his mate from the castle wall,
Deep hid in the dim twilight.
Then muse of the years long passed away,
When these walls echoed with glee,
On gallant knights and ladies gay,
Sweet minstrels harp and roundelay,
And feasts of chivalry.
And linger still, till the lamp of night
Is sparkling o’er the deep –
And holy fane and turret height
Seem slumbering in the pale moonlight,
In a calm of silvery sleep.
By G. H. Wood.