« PreviousContinue »
WHITE DOE OF RYLSTONE.
FROM Bolton's old monastic tower
-What would they there ? — Full fifty years That sumptuous Pile, with all its peers, Too harshly hath been doomed to taste The bitterness of wrong and waste : Its courts are ravaged; but the tower Is standing with a voice of power,
That ancient voice which wont to call
Fast the church-yard fills ;-anon Look again, and they all are gone; The cluster round the porch, and the folk Who sate in the shade of the Prior's Oak ! And scarcely have they disappeared Ere the prelusive hymn is heard :With one consent the people rejoice, Filling the church with a lofty voice! They sing a service which they feel : For 'tis the sunrise now of zeal, And faith and hope are in their prime In great Eliza's golden time.
A moment ends the fervent din, And all is hushed, without and within ; For though the priest, more tranquilly, Recites the holy liturgy, The only voice which you can hear Is the river murmuring near. - When soft!- the dusky trees between, And down the path through the open green, Where is no living thing to be seen; And through yon gateway, where is found, 1 Beneath the arch with ivy bound, Free entrance to the church-yard ground;
And right across the verdant sod
Lie silent in your graves, ye dead ! Lie quiet in your church-yard bed! Ye living, tend your holy cares ; Ye multitude, pursue your prayers ; And blame not me if my heart and sight Are occupied with one delight ! 'Tis a work for sabbath hours If I with this bright Creature go: Whether she be of forest bowers, From the bowers of earth below; Or a Spirit, for one day given, A gift of grace from purest heaven,
What harmonious pensive changes
Where the enamoured sunny light
The presence of this wandering Doe
For altar, whence the cross was rent, Now rich with mossy ornament, Or dormitory's length laid bare, Where the wild rose blossoms fair; And sapling ash, whose place of birth Is that lordly chamber's hearth? - She sees a warrior carved in stone, Among the thick weeds, stretched alone A warrior, with his shield of pride Cleaving humbly to his side, And hands in resignation prest, Palm to palm, on his tranquil breast : Methinks she passeth by the sight, As a common creature might: If she be doomed to inward care, Or service, it must lie elsewhere. - But hers are eyes serenely bright, And on she moves — with pace how light ! Nor spares to stoop her head, and taste The dewy turf with flowers bestrown; And thus she fares, until at last Beside the ridge of a grassy grave In quietness she lays her down; Gently as a weary wave Sinks, when the summer breeze hath died, Against an anchored vessel's side ; Even so, without distress, doth she Lie down in peace, and lovingly.
The day is placid in its going,