St Robert's Cave

Henry Alford

The scene of the murder of Daniel Clarke by Eugene Aram

We gazed intent upon the murderous cave;
Too fair a place, methinks, for deeds of blood.
Above, the rocks, dappled with pendent wood,
Rose sheltering; and below with rippling wave
The crystal Nidd flowed by. The wondrous tale
That from of old had turned our young cheeks pale,
Came crowding on the present; yonder stood
The guilt-worn student, skilled without avail
In ancient lore; and yonder seemed to lie
The melancholy corse, year after year
Sending to Heaven its silent vengeance-cry,
Till Aram's hour was come, and He, whose ear
Was open, tracked the murderer where he fled,
And wrath's right-aiming stroke descended on his head.

St Robert (1161-1218)was a saint who lived in the small cave that can still be seen beside the River Nidd at Knaresborough. The cave has a stone bed but is too small for a man to lie straight.

The philologist Eugene Aram murdered Daniel Clarke in 1745 and buried him in St Robert's Cave. Aram was executed for the murder in 1759.