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Not yet the corner-stone is laid
With solemn rite; but fancy sees
The tower time-stricken, and in shade
Embosomed of coeval trees;
Hears, o'er the lake, the warning clock
As it shall sound with gentle shock
At evening, when the ground beneath
Is ruffled o'er with cells of death ;
Where happy generations lie,
Here tutored for eternity.
Lives there a man whose sole delights
Are trivial pomp
and city noise,
Hardening a heart that loathes or slights
What every natural heart enjoys ?
Who never caught a noontide dream
From murmur of a running stream;
Could strip, for aught the prospect yields
To him, their verdure from the fields;
And take the radiance from the clouds
In which the sun his setting shrouds.
A soul so pitiably forlorn,
If such do on this earth abide,
May season apathy with scorn,
May turn indifference to pride,
And still be not unblest-compared
With him who grovels, self-debarred
From all that lies within the scope
Of holy faith and Christian hope;
Or, shipwrecked, kindles on the coast
False fires, that others may be lost.
Alas! that such perverted zeal
Should spread on Britain's favoured ground!
That public order, private weal,
Should e'er have felt or feared a wound
From champions of the desperate law
Which from their own blind hearts they draw;
Who tempt their reason to deny
God, whom their passions dare defy,
And boast that they alone are free
Who reach this dire extremity!
But turn we from these 'bold bad' men;
The way, mild lady! that hath led
Down to their 'dark opprobrious den,'
Is all too rough for thee to tread.
Softly as morning vapours glide
Through Mosedale-cove from Carrock's side,
Should move the tenor of his song
Who means to charity no wrong;
Whose offering gladly would accord
With this day's work in thought and word.
Heaven prosper it! may peace and love,
And hope, and consolation fall,
Through its meek influence from above,
And penetrate the hearts of all;
All who, around the hallowed fane,
Shall sojourn in this fair domain ;
Grateful to thee, while service pure,
And ancient ordinance, shall endure,
For opportunity bestowed
To kneel together, and adore their God!
ON THE SAME OCCASION. When in the antique age of bow and spear And feudal rapine clothed with iron mail, Came ministers of peace, intent to rear The mother church in yon sequestered vale;
Then, to her patron saint a previous rite
Resounded with deep swell and solemn close,
Through unremitting vigils of the night,
Till from his couch the wished-for sun uprose.
He rose, and straight-as by divine command,
They who had waited for that sign to trace
Their work's foundation, gave with careful hand,
To the high altar its determined place;
Mindful of him who in the Orient born
There lived, and on the cross his life resigned,
And who, from out the regions of the morn,
Issuing in pomp, shall come to judge mankind.
So taught their creed;—nor failed the eastern sky,
Mid these more awful feelings, to infuse
The sweet and natural hopes that shall not die
Long as the sun his gladsome course renews.
For us hath such prelusive vigil ceased;
Yet still we plant, like men of elder days,
Our Christian altar faithful to the east,
Whence the tall window drinks the morning rays;
That obvious emblem giving to the eye.
Of meek devotion, which erewhile it gave,
That symbol of the dayspring from on high,
Triumphant o'er the darkness of the grave.
THE FORCE OF PRAYER; OR THE FOUNDING OF BOLTON PRIORY. •What is good for a bootless bene?” With these dark words begins my tale; And their meaning is, Whence can comfort spring When prayer is of no avail?
What is good for a bootless bene?” The falconer to the lady said; And she made answer, “ Endless sorrow!" For she knew that her son was dead. She knew it by the falconer's words, And from the look of the falconer's eye; And from the love which was in her soul For her youthful Romilly. Young Romilly through Barden woods Is ranging high and low; And holds a greyhound in a leash, To let slip upon buck or doe. The pair have reached that fearful chasm, How tempting to bestride! For lordly Wharfe is there pent in, With rocks on either side. This striding-place is called the Strid, A name which it took of yore; A thousand years hath it borne that name, And shall a thousand more. And hither is young Romilly come, And what may now forbid That he, perhaps for the hundredth time, Shall bound across the Strid ? He sprang in glee,--for what cared he That the river was strong, and the rocks were steep? But the greyhound in the leash hung back, And checked him in his leap. The boy is in the arms of Wharfe, And strangled by a merciless force; For never more was young Romilly seen Till he rose a lifeless corse.
Now there is stillness in the vale,
And deep unspeaking sorrow:
Wharfe shall be to pitying hearts
A name more sad than Yarrow,
If for a lover the lady wept,
A solace she might borrow
From death, and from the passion of death;-
Old Wharfe might heal her sorrow.
She weeps not for the wedding-day
Which was to be to-morrow :
Her hope was a farther-looking hope,
And hers is a mother's sorrow.
He was a tree that stood alone,
And proudly did its branches wave;
And the root of this delightful tree
Was in her husband's grave!
Long, long in darkness did she sit,
And her first words were,
“Let there be
In Bolton, on the field of Wharfe
A stately priory!"
The stately priory was reared ;
And Wharfe, as he moved along,
To matins joined a mournful voice,
Nor failed at evensong.
And the lady prayed in heaviness
That looked not for relief!
But slowly did her succour come,
And a patience to her grief.
Oh, there is never sorrow of heart
That shall lack a timely end,
If but to God we turn, and ask
Of him to be our Friend !