Great Hall

Kinloch Castle

The Great Hall of a castle was where large banquets and entertainments were held, for dozens or sometimes hundreds of guests. These were large, drafty rooms, often with several huge fireplaces, meant to mitigate the damp cold that made castle life uncomfortable, particularly in the colder months of the year. Some were decked with a gallery or balcony above the main floor, where guests could sit and watch pageants and masques performed below in the Hall. Minstrels, choirs, or other musical offerings might also emanate from the upper level, and it was sometimes referred to as the "minstrel's gallery". Kinloch Castle, Isle of Rum, Scotland

Examples of medieval dress for women. Long, flowing gowns were the order of the day, though royal women and women of noble or aristocratic birth often wore more revealing styles than are shown here, with a good portion of the upper breasts revealed. The fashions left are more everyday wear and were also worn for traveling, which was an arduous process in those days.

An example of dance in the medieval era, this one appears to be taking place in the courtyard. It is this type of dance, requiring long lines of partners, that was so well suited to the huge Great Halls. The music would be heavy with percussion, such as bells and tambourines . Other instruments commonly used were the virginals, a type of keyboard instrument, as well as harp, flute, lute and other stringed instruments.

Some Favorite Poems:

High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.

Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth

Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,

I've chased the shouting wind along and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue

I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace

Where never lark, or even eagle flew.

And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee

Speaking of Cows

Speaking of cows,

(which no one was doing),

Why are they always staring and chewing?

Staring at people, chewing at clover,

Doing the same things over and over.

Once in a while you see a cow mooing

Or swishing her tail at a fly that needs shooing.

Most of the time, though, what are cows doing?

Staring and looking, munching and chewing,

Eyes never blinking, jaws always moving.

What are cows thinking? What are cows proving?!

Cows must not care for new ways of doing.

That's what they stare for. That's why they're chewing.

Kaye Starbird

April Day

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.

You know how it is with an April day

When the sun is out and the wind is still,

You're one month on in the middle of May.

But if you so much as dare to speak,

A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,

A wind comes off a frozen peak,

And you're two months back in the middle of March.

(excerpt: Two Tramps in Mud Time) Robert Frost


And what are you that, wanting you,

I should be kept awake

As many nights as there are days

With weeping for your sake?

And what are you that, missing you,

As many days as crawl

I should be listening to the wind

And looking at the wall?

I know a man that's a braver man

And twenty men as kind,

And what are you, that you should be

The one man in my mind?

Yet women's ways are witless ways,

As any sage will tell, __

And what am I, that I should love

So wisely and so well?

Edna St. Vincent Millay


And then the day came,

when the risk

to remain tight

in a bud

was more painful

than the risk

it took

to blossom.

Anais Nin

To A Waterfowl

Whither, midst falling dew,

While glow the heavens with the last steps of day

Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue

Thy solitary way?

Vainly the fowler's eye

Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong

As, darkly seen against the crimson sky,

Thy figure floats along.

Seek'st thou the plashy brink

Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,

Or where the rocking billows rise and sing

On the chafed ocean side?

There is a Power whose care

Teaches thy way along that pathless coast—

The desert and illimitable air—

Lone wandering, but not lost.

All day thy wings have fanned,

At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere,

Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,

Though the dark night is near.

And soon that toil shall end;

Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest,

And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend,

Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest.

Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven

Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart

Deeply has sunk the lesson thou hast given,

And shall not soon depart.

He who, from zone to zone,

Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,

In the long way that I must tread alone,

Will lead my steps aright.

William Cullen Bryant


I have scarcely left you

When you go in me, crystalline,

Or trembling,

Or uneasy, wounded by me

Or overwhelmed with love, as

when your eyes

Close upon the gift of life

That without cease I give you.

My love,

We have found each other

Thirsty and we have

Drunk up all the water and the


We found each other


And we bit each other

As fire bites,

Leaving wounds in us.

But wait for me,

Keep for me your sweetness.

I will give you too

A rose.

Pablo Neruda

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear,

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I marked the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Lines and Squares

Whenever I walk in a London street,

I'm ever so careful to watch my feet;

And I keep in the squares,

And the masses of bears,

Who wait at the corners all ready to eat

The sillies who tread on the lines of the street

Go back to their lairs,

And I say to them, "Bears,

Just look how I'm walking in all the squares!"

And the little bears growl to each other, "He's mine,

As soon as he's silly and steps on a line."

And some of the bigger bears try to pretend

That they came round the corner to look for a friend;

And they try to pretend that nobody cares

Whether you walk on the lines or squares.

But only the sillies believe their talk;

It's ever so portant how you walk.

And it's ever so jolly to call out, "Bears,

Just watch me walking in all the squares!"

Alan Alexander Milne

I Thought of You

I thought of you and how you love this beauty,

And walking up the long beach all alone

I heard the waves breaking in measured thunder

As you and I once heard their monotone.

Around me were the echoing dunes, beyond me

The cold and sparkling silver of the sea --

We two will pass through death and ages


Before you hear that sound again with me.

Sarah Teasdale

The Swing

How do you like to go up in a swing,

Up in the air so blue?

Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing

Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,

Till I can see so wide,

River and trees and cattle and all

Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,

Down on the roof so brown--

Up in the air I go flying again,

Up in the air and down!

Robert Louis Stevenson

Children Chapter IV

Berthe Morisot (1841-1895), French Impressionist

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, "Speak to us of Children."

And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;

For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Khalil Gibran

Previous Page: Gallery

Next Page: Chapel