Written in Lady Lonsdale's Album at Lowther Castle

Robert Southey

Sometimes in youthful years,
When in some ancient ruin I have stood,
Alone and musing, till with quiet tears
I felt my cheeks bedewed.
A melancholy thought hath made me grieve
For this our age, and humbled me in mind,
That it should pass away, and leave
No monuments behind.

Not for themselves alone
Our fathers lived; nor with a niggard hand
Raised they the fabrics of enduring stone,
Which yet adorn the land:
Their piles, memorials of the mighty dead,
Survive them still, majestic in decay;
But ours are like ourselves, I said,
The creatures of a day.

With other feelings now,
Lowther! have I beheld thy stately walls.
Thy pinnacles, and broad embattled brow,
And hospitable halls.
The sun those wide-spread battlements shall crest,
And silent years unharming shall go by,
Till centuries in their course invest
Thy towers with sanctity.

But thou the while shalt bear
To after-times an old and honoured name,
And to remote posterity declare
Thy founder's virtuous fame.
Fair structure, worthy the triumphant age
Of glorious England's opulence and power!
Peace be thy lasting heritage,
And happiness thy dower!

The massive pile of Lowther Castle, seat of the Earls of Lonsdale, is now a ruin. It was abandoned in 1937 and the rood was taken off twenty years later.

Robert Southey's fellow Lake Poet, William Wordsworth also wrote about Lowther Castle.