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But the daughters are governesses now, and the pictures in their place,
God help us ! while the people raise their wild terrific cry
pomp, and show, and arrogance—the carelessness that comes
Dear me ! how late and cold it is; the morning dawns, I see,
THE CLOISTERS, FOUNTAINS A B B E Y.
There is something very solemn in a ruin-especially in an ecclesiastical ruin-something which wonderfully affects the imagination. How many lowly litanies, how many choral services, have ascended to heaven from amid the now ruined arches of Fountains' Abbey! How many solemn festivals have been celebrated within its venerable walls ! and how often have its towers and arches re-echoed the triumphant Hallelujah ! Now stoléd monk and mitred abbot pace its aisles no more! Its chants and anthems are silenced; no voice save that of the night-wind sighs in its deserted cloisters ; and the swallow makes her nest near its once consecrated altars !
Such reflections naturally suggest themselves to the spectator who visits a ruined abbey; and if they be but tempered by just views of the religious condition of England during the period in which these ecclesiastical establishments were in their “palmy state,” and of the real good and evil attendant upon monastic institutions, they may be innocently indulged. While, however, we acknowledge the vast power which these solemn relics of the past have upon the imagination, and feel in its fullest extent the inexpressible charm which lingers around them; while we enjoy their picturesque beauty, and labour to protect them against the further ravages of the great spoiler, Time, let us not forget the blessings which we owe to that Reformation, which, while it led to the suppression of the monasteries which had become the strongholds of spiritual tyranny and religious error, and, in too many instances, of indolence and vice, revived among the people of England the pure doctrines of Christianity, and conferred upon them the priceless boon of civil and religious liberty. It may be added, that this mortal life is, or ought to be, a scene of labour as well as of rest; a truth which the gifted writer of the following beautiful verses would seem to have overlooked or forgotten.
LINES ON FOUNTAINS' ABBEY.
BY L. E. L.
Alas, alas ! those ancient towers,
No more beneath the moonlight dim,
No more within some cloister'd cell,
How needful some such tranquil place,
How many, too heart-sick to roam