Richard Monckton Milnes

Tintern Abbey

THE MEN who called their passion piety,
And wrecked this noble argosy of faith,—
They little thought how beauteous could be death,
How fair the face of time’s aye-deepening sea!
Nor arms that desolate, nor years that flee,
Nor hearts that fail, can utterly deflower
This grassy floor of sacramental power,
Where we now stand communicants,—even we,
We of this latter, still protéstant age,
With priestly ministrations of the sun
And moon and multitudinous quire of stars,
Maintain this consecration, and assuage
With tender thoughts the past of weary wars,
Masking with good that ill which cannot be undone.

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