A Story of Caracas Valley

James Barron Hope

A fort above Laguayra stands,
Which all the town below commands.
The damp moss clings upon its walls—
The rotting drawbridge slowly falls—
Its dreary silentness appalls!
The iron bars are thick with rust
And slowly moulder into dust;
The roofless turrets show the sky,
The moats below are bare and dry—
No captain issues proud behest—
The guard-room echoes to no jest;
As I have said, within those walls
The very silentness appalls!
In other days it was not so—
The Spanish banner, long ago,
Above the turrets tall did flow.
And many a gallant soldier there
With musket or with gleaming spear,
Pac'd on the battlements that then
Were throng'd with tall and proper men.
But this was many a year ago—
A long shot back for mem'ry's bow!
The Governor here made his home
Beneath the great hall's gilded dome.
And here his lady-wife he brought
From Spain, across the sea;
And sumptuous festival was made,
Where now the tangled ivy's shade
Is hanging drearily.
The lady was both fair and young—
Fair as a poet ever sung;
And well they lov'd; so it is told;—
Had plighted troth in days gone by,
Ere he had won his spurs of gold,
Or, gain'd his station high.
And often from the martial keep
They'd sail together on the deep;
Or, wander many a weary mile
In lonely valley, or defile.