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Poppies on Ludlow Castle

Through halls of vanished pleasure,

And hold of vanished power,

And crypt of faith forgotten,

A came to Ludlow tower.

A-top of arch and stairway,

Of crypt and donjan cell,

Of council hall, and chamber,

Of wall, and ditch, and well,

High over grated turrets

Where clinging ivies run,

A thousand scarlet poppies

Enticed the rising sun,

Upon the topmost turret,

With death and damp below,

Three hundred years of spoilage,

The crimson poppies grow.

This hall it was that bred him,

These hills that knew him brave,

The gentlest English singer

That fills an English grave.

How have they heart to blossom

So cruel and gay and red,

When beauty so hath perished

And valour so hath sped?

When knights so fair are rotten,

And captains true asleep,

And singing lips are dust-stopped

Six English earth-feet deep?

When ages old remind me

How much hath gone for naught,

What wretched ghost remaineth

Of all that flesh hath wrought;

Of love and song and warring,

Of adventure and play,

Of art and comely building,

Of faith and form and fray

I’ll mind the flowers of pleasure,

Of short-lived youth and sleep,

That drunk the sunny weather

A-top of Ludlow keep.