THOU relic of a bygone generation, Thou crumbling record of a vanished race, Towering aloft in lonely desolation, Like the great guardian spirit of the place: Thy walls with age are mouldering, gray and hoary, Where thy long transept lay the grass waves green; And scarce a remnant of thy former glory Remains to tell us what thou once hast been. Yet here in days of yore a royal maiden Has ministered upon the sacred shrine; And knights and nobles with their symbols laden Have joined the orisons and rites divine. Here images of saints in dark-niched spaces Have peered on black-cowled monks devoid of smiles; And meek-eyed nuns, with fair and pensive faces, Have flitted through the solemn-whispering aisles. Here oft the sweet strains of an Ave Mary Have stolen through the twilight, still and clear; And the wild cadence of a Miserere Has struck upon the midnight’s startled ear. And in the frequent pauses of devotion, When silence brooded o’er the prostrate band, Was heard the deep-mouthed wailing of the ocean Beating forever on the rocky strand. But all is changed!—no more the night-wind, stealing Through thy dim galleries and vacant nave, Will catch the sound of music’s measured pealing And bear it far across the moonlit wave: No more when morning gilds the eastern heaven Will early matins rise or organ swell; And when the first stars gem the brow of even No more will sound the sweet-toned vesper bell. Thy glory has gone by! and thou art standing In lonely pomp upon thy sea-washed hill, Wearing in hoary age a mien commanding, And in thy desolation stately still!
English Poetry - http://www.eng-poetry.ru/english/index.php. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org