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Bright were the castle buildings, many the bathing-halls,
high the abundance of gables, great the noise of the multitude,
many a meadhall full of festivity,
until Fate the mighty changed that.
Far and wide the slain perished, days of pestilence came,
death took all the brave men away;
their places of war became deserted places,
the city decayed. The rebuilders perished,
the armies to earth. And so these buildings grow desolate,
and this red-curved roof parts from its tiles
of the ceiling-vault. The ruin has fallen to the ground
broken into mounds, where at one time many a warrior,
joyous and ornamented with gold-bright splendour,
proud and flushed with wine shone in war-trappings;
looked at treasure, at silver, at precious stones,
at wealth, at prosperity, at jewellery,
at this bright castle of a broad kingdom.

Part of The Ruin, an 8th century poem by an anonymous author. I was led to it by this article on the recent discovery of a beautiful collection of Anglo-Saxon treasure. It's beautiful and evocative in its description of, in the poem's case, Roman ruins. This ancient castle at Ludgershall that I photographed in 2008 dates back to only the 13th century, but that's ruined enough for me.

I think it appeals right now as I am pretty sure I have fallen prey to the latest pestilence, namely the Swine Flu. What started out as what I thought was a simple cold earlier this week has turned into a low grade fever, persistent (and by now rather sore) cough and a lot of muscle ache. So two days off work, lots of bed rest, and I will mend. But it has settled a rather gloomy disposition upon me.

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