Ave! Vale! Salve!
And now must I bury my dead out of my sight—bid farewell to the old resplendent, stately, scarred, defiant Raglan, itself the grave of many an old story, and the cradle of the new, and alas! in contrast with the old, not merely the mechanical, but the unpoetic and commonplace, yes vulgar era of our island’s history. Little did lord Herbert dream of the age he was initiating—of the irreverence and pride and destruction that were about to follow in his footsteps, wasting, defiling, scarring, obliterating, turning beauty into ashes, and worse! That divine mechanics should thus, through selfishness and avarice, be leagued with filth and squalor and ugliness! When one looks upon Raglan, indignation rises—not at the storm of iron which battered its walls to powder, hardly even at the decree to level them with the dust, but at the later destroyer who could desecrate the beauty yet left by wrath and fear, who with the stones of my lady’s chamber would build a kennel, or with the carved stones of chapel or hall a barn or cowhouse! What would the inventor of the water-commanding engine have said to the pollution of our waters, the destruction of the very landmarks of our history, the desecration of ruins that ought to be venerated for their loveliness as well as their story! Would he not have broken it to pieces, that the ruin it must occasion might not be laid to his charge? May all such men as for the sake of money constitute themselves the creators of ugliness, not to speak of far worse evils in the land, live—or die, I care not which—to know in their own selves what a lovely human Psyche lies hid even in the chrysalis of a railway-director, and to loathe their past selves as an abomination—incredible but that it had been. He who calls such a wish a curse, must undergo it ere his being can be other than a blot.
But this era too will pass, and truth come forth in forms new and more lovely still.