"Sonnet." by Mary Darby Robinson (1758-1800)
Written among the Ruins of an ancient Castle in Germany, in the year 1786.
YE mould'ring walls where Titian colours glow'd,
And the soft minstrel's echo charm'd the ear;
Alas ! how chang'd your dreary haunts appear,
The solitary Screech-owl's dark abode.
Where in yon gothic hall fair forms divine,
Trip'd with light heel, or swam with graceful ease;
Now clasping ivy round the columns twine,
And loathsome weeds infect the midnight breeze.
Those turrets, wasting in the northern blast,
No more with burnish'd radiance proudly glow,
But in small fragments on the pavement cast,
Heap the wild ruin on the plain below;
Mingling with dust thy mighty roofs are laid,
So MAN, the grandest work of Heav'n, SHALL FADE.