The Cedars Of Mt. Lebanon, Warwick Castle.
The Sun-Dial Tower, And The Courtyard.
The grand reception-hall of Warwick Castle must have been a magnificent assembling place for kings and warriors of the past, as it is for lords and ladies of the present time. Around the walls are bat-tle-axes, spears, and suits of ar-m o r, once used or worn by members of the family in feudal times; but now they are all tenantless. The valiant hearts that beat beneath them are forever stilled. The hands that wielded these enormous weapons have crumbled to decay.
"Their swords are rust: Their bones are dust: Their souls are with the saints, we trust".
In other apartments of the castle the wealth of centuries seems to have been gathered. Rare ornaments in bronze or marble stand upon tables of mosaic, or pedestals of lapis-lazuli.
A Street In Warwick.
Upon the walls hang paintings by Vandyke and Rubens; and Henry VIII., Charles I., Queen Anne, and Oliver Cromwell look down upon us from their gilded frames, and seem to mock us with their changeless scrutiny and their red lips that never speak. If it were not too fanciful, one might query here whether they ever do converse after the guests are gone, and if they do not laugh at us who so intently study their careers, and think we understand the motives which inspired them. How much less they, when living, knew than we; but, dead, ah, how much more!
From the rooms where Warwick's chiefs had lived, we passed to the place where some of them lie buried. The chapel is superbly decorated. The walls and ceiling are of elegantly carved oak, and the stained glass windows are aflame with color. Through them, as through the ruby and golden tints of autumn leaves, the sunlight streams upon the upturned faces of the sculptured dead. Clad in full armor, they lie side by side, their joined hands raised as if imploring mercy on their sinful souls. It was an attitude they probably seldom took in life; hence it provokes a smile to see it now obligatory and unchanging. For three long centuries within this chapel has reposed the handsome Earl of Leicester, the favorite of Queen Elizabeth, and one of the most successful triflers with women's hearts this world has ever seen. Yet, in the case of Elizabeth, at least, he certainly received his punishment. Forever on the threshold of the throne he never reached it. Elizabeth played with him as he had done with others. It was a case of royal coquetry in which Elizabeth triumphed; for, unlike her fair cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth's head always controlled her heart. The picture of her love affairs is, therefore, not particularly brilliant. As the French say, "Flirtation is merely love in water colors." Saying farewell, at last, to Warwick we drove one afternoon to what must certainly be called the loveliest of England's ruined castles, - Kenilworth. The sun was sinking in the west as we rode up the avenue leading thither, and in the radiance of that sunset light the ruined walls and towers glowed like shafts of jasper, resembling the volcanic cliffs of Capri. At first I could not comprehend this marvelous effect, but presently the secret was disclosed; for, to my great astonishment, I discovered that the castle was not gray, but red; composed, in fact, of old red sandstone. No one had ever told me this, and I had formed the idea that its walls were made of granite.
Leicester's Tomb In Beauchamp Chapel.
Guy's Tower, Warwick.
I think we naturally expect all ruins to be gray. We ourselves certainly grow gray with time. Why should old castles be more fortunate? Hence, though I finally came to admire the ruddy hue of Kenilworth, it took some time for me to harmonize reality with expectation.