The Castle of Indolence

The Castle of Indolence: An Allegorical Poem  (1748) 
by James Thomson (1700-1748)

The Castle of Indolence was first published by Andrew Millar in 1748 as The Castle of Indolence: An Allegorical Poem. Written in Imitation of Spenser. By James Thomson. Though the majority of the poem was written by Thomson, stanza LXVIII of the first canto was written "by a Friend of the Author" because it describes Thomson himself.

The poem is written in stanzas of nine lines apiece, with an ab/ab/bc/bc/c rhyming scheme (Spenserian stanza) and with five accented syllables per line (iambic pentameter), except every ninth line, which receives six (Alexandrine hexameter). The Castle of Indolence served as a reintroduction of Spenserian stanza, and inspired other poets, including Lord Byron, William Wordsworth, Washington Irving and John Keats.

A glossary of the archaisms and obsolete terminology used in this work is included. Where the words occur in the text they have been linked to the appropriate glossary entry.






Allegorical POEM.

Written in

Imitation of SPENSER.



The Second Edition.


Printed for A. Millar, over-against Catherine-street,
in the Strand.


[Price 1s. 6d.]



This Poem being writ in the Manner of Spenser, the obsolete Words, and a Simplicity of Diction in some of the Lines, which borders on the Ludicrous, were necessary to make the Imitation more perfect. And the Stile of that admirable Poet, as well as the Measure in which he wrote, are as it were appropriated by Custom to all Allegorical Poems writ in our Language; just as in French the Stile of Marot who lived under Francis I. has been used in Tales, and familiar Epistles, by the politest Writers of the Age of Louis XIV.


Chapters (not listed in original)

This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.