145Then came a bit of stubbed ground, once a wood, 146 Next a marsh, it would seem, and now mere earth 147 Desperate and done with; (so a fool finds mirth, 148Makes a thing and then mars it, till his mood 149Changes and off he goes!) within a rood-- 150 Bog, clay and rubble, sand and stark black dearth. 151Now blotches rankling, coloured gay and grim, 152 Now patches where some leanness of the soil's 153 Broke into moss or substances like boils; 154Then came some palsied oak, a cleft in him 155Like a distorted mouth that splits its rim 156 Gaping at death, and dies while it recoils. 157And just as far as ever from the end! 158 Nought in the distance but the evening, nought 159 To point my footstep further! At the thought, 160A great black bird, Apollyon's bosom-friend, 161Sailed past, nor beat his wide wing dragon-penned 162 That brushed my cap--perchance the guide I sought. 163For, looking up, aware I somehow grew, 164 'Spite of the dusk, the plain had given place 165 All round to mountains--with such name to grace 166Mere ugly heights and heaps now stolen in view. 167How thus they had surprised me,--solve it, you! 168 How to get from them was no clearer case. 169Yet half I seemed to recognise some trick 170 Of mischief happened to me, God knows when-- 171 In a bad dream perhaps. Here ended, then, 172Progress this way. When, in the very nick 173Of giving up, one time more, came a click 174 As when a trap shuts--you're inside the den! 175Burningly it came on me all at once, 176 This was the place! those two hills on the right, 177 Crouched like two bulls locked horn in horn in fight; 178While to the left, a tall scalped mountain . . . Dunce, 179Dotard, a-dozing at the very nonce, 180 After a life spent training for the sight! 181What in the midst lay but the Tower itself? 182 The round squat turret, blind as the fool's heart 183 Built of brown stone, without a counterpart 184In the whole world. The tempest's mocking elf 185Points to the shipman thus the unseen shelf 186 He strikes on, only when the timbers start. 187Not see? because of night perhaps?--why, day 188 Came back again for that! before it left, 189 The dying sunset kindled through a cleft: 190The hills, like giants at a hunting, lay 191Chin upon hand, to see the game at bay,-- 192 "Now stab and end the creature--to the heft!" 193Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it tolled 194 Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears 195 Of all the lost adventurers my peers,-- 196How such a one was strong, and such was bold, 197And such was fortunate, yet each of old 198 Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years. 199There they stood, ranged along the hillsides, met 200 To view the last of me, a living frame 201 For one more picture! in a sheet of flame 202I saw them and I knew them all. And yet 203Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set, 204 And blew. "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came."