Page:Old Castles.djvu/33

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25
Carlisle Castle.

to the top of the tower, which is three stories high, each of sixteen feet in height, and which is, from the ground to the top of the parapet, sixty-eight feet in height. The prospect seen from here is a very fine one. On the south Skiddaw stretches its sublime circumference on the far off margin of vision, and to the west, beyond the silver Solway, rises the dark crest of Criffel, while the northern and eastern views are bounded by irregular heights of cloud capped fell, between which flows the tranquil Eden.

Within this area, and all around Carlisle, sweeps a beautiful and fertile extent of rich cultivated land, over which peaceful white villages and farms cluster thickly. This tract includes also many noted border towers and castles—Corby, Naworth, Brougham, Linstock, Penrith, and Rose Castle, for instance; but no helmed warders pace their keeps now. The times have changed, and one noble border chieftain, now, alas! no more, has sweetly tuned his peaceful lyre to the praises of the "wild and winsome jessamine tree" that blooms upon his border tower.

There are, also, many sweet rural solitudes in the interspaces of this prospect, where in the green summer time the honeysuckle and the wild rose and the satin-threaded bramble flower far up in mid air scatter their gracious healing beauty and fragrance on the unworldly wanderer. From here also the whole country may be reconnoitred for miles, the roads on every hand being visible for great distances.

Underneath the armoury, and on the ground floor of the tower are the solitary dungeons. They are entered mostly by narrow doors, and are utterly dark,