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History of the Church in England. If our Produc. tions, thus unintentionally coinciding, shall be found to illustrate each other, it will prove a high gratification to me, which I am sure my Friend will participate.
For the convenience of passing from one point of the subject to another without shocks of abruptness, this work has taken the shape of a series of Sonnets : but the Reader, it is hoped, will find that the pictures are often so closely connected as to have jointly the effect of passages of a poem in a form of stanza to which there is no objection but one that bears upon the Poet only — its difficulty.
I, who accompanied with faithful pace
II. — CONJECTURES.
III. — TREPIDATION OF THE DRUIDS. SCREAMS round the Arch-druid's brow the Seamewt-white As Menai's foam ; and tow'rd the mystic ring Where Augurs stand; the future questioning, Slowly the Cormorant aims her heavy flight, Portending ruin to each baleful rite, That, in the lapse of ages, hath crept o'er Diluvian truths, and patriarchal lore. " Haughty the Bard; — can these meek doctrines blight His transports ? wither his heroic strains ? But all shall be fulfilled; the Julian spear A way first opened ; and, with Roman chains, The tidings come of Jesus crucified ; They come — they spread — the weak, the suffering, hear; Receive the faith, and in the hope abide.
* See note, p. 194.
+ This water-fowl was, among the Druids, an emblem of those traditions connected with the deluge that made an important part of their mysteries. The Cormorant was a bird of bad omen.
IV. - DRUIDICAL EXCOMMUNICATION.
V. - UNCERTAINTY. DARKNESS surrounds us ; seeking, we are lost, a' On Snowdon's wilds, amid Brigantian coves, Or where the solitary Shepherd roves Along the Plain of Sarum, by the Ghost Of Time and Shadows of Tradition, crost; And where the boatman of the Western Isles : Slackens his course to mark those holy piles Which yet survive on bleak Iona's coast. Nor these, nor monuments of eldest fame, Nor Taliesin's unforgotten lays, Nor characters of Greek or Roman fame, To an unquestionable Source have led ; Enough — if eyes that sought the fountain-head, In vain, upon the growing Rill may gaze,
VI. — PERSECUTION. LAMENT! for Dioclesian's fiery sword Works busy as the lightning: but instinct With malice ne'er to deadliest weapon linked, Which God's ethereal store-houses afford : Against the Followers of the incarnate Lord It rages; some are smitten in the field — Some pierced beneath the ineffectual shield Of sacred home; — with pomp are others gored And dreadful respite. Thus was Alban tried, England's first Martyr, whom no threats could shake : Self-offered Victim, for his friend he died, And for the faith — nor shall his name forsake That Hill *, whose flowery platform seems to rise By Nature decked for holiest sacrifice.
VII. — RECOVERY.
Their holy rites with vocal gratitude:
To celebrate their great deliverance;
That persecution, blind with rage extreme,
. * See note, p. 194.