Lord Weary's Castle

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Collection of poems by Robert Lowell, published in 1946.

Deriving its title from a folk ballad about Lord Weary's refusal to pay his stonemason Lambkin for building his castle, and Lambkin's murder of the lord's wife and child, the symbolic significance, as John Berryman pointed out in a review, is that the “castle is a house of ingratitude, failure of obligation, crime and punishment.” These are among the themes of the volume's lyrics, some of which were revised from Lowell's previous book, Land of Unlikeness, some of them related to World War II and others to the author's New England heritage. Major works include “The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket,” an elegy for a cousin, alluding to Melville and Thoreau and treating man's equivocal relations to nature and the theological issues of innocence, corruption, sin, and redemption; “Mr. Edwards and the Spider,” drawing with antipathy upon Jonathan Edwards's Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God; and “Christmas Eve Under Hooker's Statue,” relating the Civil War and World War II, and contrasting childhood innocence and adult materialistic belligerence.

Subjects: Literature.

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Robert Lowell (1917—1977) American poet

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