When Friends or Fortune frown on Mira's Lay,
Or gloomy Vapours hide the Lamp of Day;
With low'ring Forehead, and with aching Limbs,
Oppress'd with Head-ach, and eternal Whims,
Sad Mira vows to quit the darling Crime:
Yet takes her Farewel, and Repents, in Rhyme.
But see (more charming than Armida's Wiles)
The sun returns, and Artemisia smiles:
Then in a trice the Resolutions fly;
[And who so frolick as the Muse and I?]
We sing once more, obedient to her Call;
Once more we sing; and 'tis of Crumble-Hall;
That Crumble-Hall, whose hospitable Door
Has fed the Stranger, and reliev'd the Poor;
Whose Gothic Towers, and whose rusty Spires,
Well known of old to Knights, and hungry Squires.
There powder'd Beef, and Warden-Pies, were found;
And Pudden dwelt within her spacious Bound:
Pork, Peas, and Bacon (good old English Fare!),
With tainted Ven'son, and with hunted Hare:
With humming Beer her Vats were wont to flow,
And ruddy Nectar in her Vaults to glow.
Here came the Wights, who battled for Renown,
The sable Friar, and the russet Clown:
The loaded Tables sent a sav'ry Gale,
And the brown Bowls were crown'd with simp'ring Ale;
While the Guests ravag'd on the smoking Stove,
Till their stretch'd Girdles would contain no more.
Of this rude Palace might a Poet sing
From cold December to returning Spring;
Tell how the Building spreads on either Hand,
And two grim Giants o'er the Portals stand;
Whose grisled Beards are neither comb'd nor shorn,
But look severe, and horribly adorn.
Then step within -- there stands a goodly Row
Of oaken Pillars -- where a gallant Show
Of mimic Pears and carv'd Pomgranates twine,
With the plump Clusters of the spreading Vine.
Strange Forms above, present themselves to View;
Some Mouths that grin, some smile, and some that spew.
Here a soft Maid or Infant seems to cry:
Here stares a Tyrant, with distorted Eye:
The Roof -- no Cyclops e'er could reach so high:
Not Polyphemus, tho' form'd for dreadful Harms,
The Top could measure with extended Arms.
Here the pleas'd Spider plants her peaceful Loom:
Here weaves secure, nor dreads the hated Broom.
But at the Head (and furbish'd once a year)
The Herald's mystic Compliments appear:
Round the fierce Dragon Honi Soit twines,
And Royal Edward o'er the Chimney shines.
Safely the Mice through yon dark Passage run,
Where the dim windows ne'er admit the sun.
Along each Wall the Stranger blindly feels;
And (trembling) dreads a Spectre at his Heels.
The sav'ry kitchen much Attention calls:
Westphalia Hams adorn the sable Walls:
The Fires blaze; the greasy Pavements fry;
And steaming Odours from the Kettles fly.
See! yon brown Parlour on the Left appears,
For nothing famous, but its leathern Chairs,
Whose shining Nails like polish'd Armour glow,
And the dull clock beat, audible and slow.
But on the Right we spy a Room more fair:
The Form -- 'tis neither long, nor round, nor square;
The Walls how lofty, and the Floor how wide,
We leave for learned Quadrus to decide.
Gay China Bowls o'er the broad Chimney shine,
Whose long Description would be too sublime:
And much might of the Tapestry be sung:
But we're content to say, The Parlour's hung.
We count the Stairs, and to the Right ascend,
Where on the Walls the gorgeous Colours blend.
There doughty George bestrides the goodly Steed;
The Dragon's slaughter'd, and the Virgin freed:
And there (but lately rescu'd from their Fears)
The Nymph and serious Ptolemy appears:
Their awkward Limbs unwieldy are display'd;
And, like a Milk-wench, [glares] the royal Maid.
From thence we turn to more familiar Rooms;
Whose Hangings ne'er wer wrought in Grecian Looms;
Yet the soft Stools, and eke the lazy Chair,
To sleep invite the Weary, and the Fair.
Shall we proceed? -- Yes, if you'll break the Wall:
If not, return, and tread once more the Hall.
Up ten stone steps now please to drag your Toes,
And a brick Passage will succeed to those.
Here the strong Doors were aptly framed to hold
Sir Wary's Person, and Sir Wary's Gold.
Here Biron sleeps, with Books encircled round;
And him you'd guess a student most profound.
Not so -- in Form the dusty Volumes stand:
There's few that wear the Mark of Biron's Hand.
Would you go farther? -- Stay a little then:
Back thro' the Passage -- [up] the Steps again;
Thro' yon dark Room -- Be careful how you tread
Up these steep Stairs -- or you may break your Head.
These Rooms are furnish'd amiably, and full:
Old shoes, and Sheep-ticks bred in Stacks of Wool;
Grey Dobbin's gears, and Drenching-Horns enow;
Wheel-spokes -- the Irons of a tatter'd Plough.
No farther -- Yes, a little higher, pray:
At yon small Door you'll find the Beams of Day,
[Where] the hot [Leads] return the scorching Ray.
Here a gay Prospect meets the ravish'd Eye:
Meads, Fields, and Groves, in beauteous Order lie.
From hence the Muse precipitant is hurl'd,
And drags down Mira to the nether World.
This for the Palace -- Yet there still remain
Unsung the Gardens, and the menial Train.
Its Groves anon -- its People first we sing:
Hear, Artemisia, hear the Song we bring.
Sophronia first in Verse shall learn to chime,
And keep her Station, tho' in Mira's Rhyme;
Sophronia sage! whose learned knuckles know
To form round cheese-cakes of the pliant Dough;
To bruise the Curd, and thro' her Fingers squeeze
Ambrosial Butter with the temper'd cheese:
Sweet Tarts and Puddens, too, her skill declare;
And the soft jellies, hid from baneful Air.
O'er the warm kettles, and the sav'ry steams,
Grave Colinettus of his Oven dreams:
Then, starting, anxious for his new-mown Hay,
Runs headlong out to view the doubtful Day:
But Dinner calls with more prevailing Charms;
And surly Graffo in his awkward Arms
Bears the tall Jugg, and turns a glaring Eye,
As tho' he fear'd some Insurrection nigh
From the fierce Crew, that gaping stand a-dry.
O'er-stuff'd with Beef; with Cabbage much too full,
And Dumpling too (fit Emblem of his Skull!)
With Mouth wide open, but with closing Eyes
Unwieldy Roger on the Table lies.
His able Lungs discharge a rattling Sound:
Prince barks, Spot howls, and the tall Roofs rebound.
Him Urs'la views; and with dejected Eyes,
"Ah! Roger, Ah!" the mournful Maiden cries:
"Is wretched Urs'la then your Care no more,
"That, while I sigh, thus you can sleep and snore?
"Ingrateful Roger! wilt thou leave me know?
"For you these Furrows mark my fading Brow:
"For you my Pigs resign their Morning Due:
"My hungry Chickens lose their Meat for your:
"And, was it not, Ah! was it not for thee,
"No goodly Pottage would be dress'd by me.
"For thee these Hnads wind up the whirling Jack,
"Or place the Spit across the sloping Rack.
"I baste the Mutton with a chearful Heart,
"Because I now my Roger will have Part."
Thus she -- But now her Dish-kettle began
To boil and blubber with the foaming Bran.
The greasy Apron round her Hips she ties,
And to each Plate the scalding Clout applies:
The purging Bath each glowing Dish refines,
And once again the polish'd Pewter shines.
Now to those heads let frolic Fancy rove,
Where o'er yon Waters nods a [pendent] Grove;
In whose clear Waves the pictur'd Boughs are seen,
With fairer Blossoms, and a brighter Green.
Soft flow'ry Barks teh spreading Lakes divide:
Sharp-pointed Flags adorn each tender Side.
See! the pleas'd Swans along the Surface play;
Where yon cool Willows meet the scorching Ray,
When fierce Orion gives too warm a Day.
But, hark! what Scream the wond'ring Ear invades!
The Dryads howling for their threaten'd Shades:
Round the dear Grove each Nymph distracted flies
(Tho' not discover'd but with Poet's Eyes):
And shall those Shades, where Philomela's strain
Has oft to Slumber lull'd the hapless Swain;
Where Turtles us'd to clasp their silken Wings;
Whose rev'rend Oaks have known a hundred Springs;
Shall these ignobly from their roots be torn,
And perish shameful, as the abject Thorn;
While the slow [Carr] bears off their aged Limbs,
To clear the way for Slopes, and modern Whims;
Where furnish'd Nature leaves a barren Gloom,
And awkward Art supplies the vacant Room?
Yet (or the Muse for Vengeance calls in vain)
The injur'd Nymphs shall haunt the ravag'd Plain:
Strange sounds and Forms shall teaze the gloomy Green;
And Fairy-Elves by Urs'la shall be seen:
Their new-built Parlour shall with Echoes ring:
And in their Hall shall doleful Crickets sing.
Then cease, Diracto, stay thy desp'rate Hand;
And let the Grove, if not the Parlour, stand.
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Comments about this poem (Crumble-Hall by Mary Leapor )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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Edgar Allan Poe
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