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FROM THE 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 doom'd 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 To mass or some high festival. And in the shatter'd fabric's heart Remaineth one protected part;
THE WHITE DOE OF RYLSTONE.
A rural chapel neatly drest,
Fast the churchyard fills; anon Look again, and they all are gone : They 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, Beneath the arch with ivy bound, Free entrance to the churchyard ground, And right across the verdant sod Towards the very house of God,
THE WHITE DOE OF RYLSTONE
Comes gliding in with lovely gleam,
UPON THE SIGHT OF A BEAUTIFUL PICTURE.
PRAISED be the art whose subtle power could stay
If from the public way you turn your steps Up the tumultuous brook of Green-head Ghyll, You will suppose that with an upright path Your feet must struggle ; in such bold ascent The pastoral mountains front you, face to face. But, courage ! for around that boisterous brook The mountains have all opened out themselves, And made a hidden valley of their own. No habitation there is seen; but such As journey thither find themselves alone With a few sheep, with rocks, and stones, and kites That overhead are sailing in the sky. It is in truth an utter solitude ; Nor should I have made mention of this dell But for one object which you might pass by, Might see and notice not. Beside the brook There is a straggling heap of unhewn stones ! And to that place a story appertains, Which, though it be ungarnished with events, Is not unfit, I deem, for the fireside, Or for the summer shade. It was the first Of those domestic tales that spake to me Of shepherds, dwellers in the valleys, men Whom I already loved- not verily For their own sakes, but for the fields and hills Where were their occupation and abode.