Aubrey Thomas De Vere

To Furness Abbey


GOD, with a mighty and an outstretched hand,
Stays thee from sinking, and ordains to be
His witness lifted ’twixt the Irish Sea
And that still beauteous, once faith-hallowed land.
Stand as a sign, monastic prophet, stand!
Thee, thee the speechless, God hath stablished thee
To be his Baptist, crying ceaselessly
In spiritual deserts like that Syrian sand!
Man’s little race around thee creep and crawl,
And dig, and delve, and roll their thousand wheels;
Thy work is done: henceforth sabbatical
Thou restest, while the world around thee reels;
But every scar of thine and stony rent
Cries to a proud, weak age, “Repent, repent!”


VIRTUE goes forth from thee and sanctifies
That once so peaceful shore whose peace is lost,
To-day doubt-dimmed, and inly tempest-tost,
Virtue most healing when sealed up it lies
In relics, like thy ruins. Enmities
Thou hast not. Thy gray towers sleep on mid dust;
But in the resurrection of the just
Thy works, contemned to-day, once more shall rise.
Guard with thy dark compeer, cloud-veiled Black Coombe,
Till then a land to nature and to grace
So dear. Thy twin in greatness, clad with gloom,
Is grander than with sunshine on his face:
Thou mid abjection and the irreverent doom
Art holier—O, how much!—to hearts not base.

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