Wardour Castle

William Lisle Bowles

If rich designs of sumptuous art may please,
Or Nature's loftier views, august and old,
Stranger! behold this spreading scene;--behold
This amphitheatre of aged trees,
That solemn wave above thee, and around
  Darken the towering hills! Dost thou complain
  That thou shouldst cope with penury or pain,
Or sigh to think what pleasures might be found
Amid such wide possessions!--Pause awhile;
Imagine thou dost see the sick man smile;
See the pale exiles, that in yonder dome,
Safe from the wasteful storm, have found a home;
And thank the Giver of all good, that lent
To the humane, retired, beneficent,
The power to bless. Nor lift thy heart elate,
If such domains be thine; but emulate
The fair example, and those deeds, that rise
Like holy incense wafted to the skies;
Those deeds that shall sustain the conscious soul,
When all this empty world hath perished, like a scroll!

 

The pale exiles were French refugees from the Revolution.

Owned by the Arundel family since 1544, the Medieval castle was largely destroyed during the Civil War. Instead of rebuilding the old castle, it was left as an ornamental ruin and New Wardour Castle was constructed on the other side of a lake in the grounds.