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SAXON MONASTERIES, AND LIGHTS AND SHADES OF
By such examples moved to unbought pains,
From Heaven a general blessing ; timely rains In soft repose he comes. Within his cell,
Or needful sunshine ; prosperous enterprise, Round the decaying trunk of human pride,
Justice and peace :—bold faith! yet also rise At morn, and eve, and midnight's silent hour,
The sacred Structures for less doubtful gains. Do penitential cogitations cling;
The Sensual think with reverence of the palms Like ivy, round some ancient elm, they twine
Which the chaste Votaries seek, beyond the grave; In grisly folds and strictures serpentine;
If penance be redeemable, thence alms
And if full oft the Sanctuary save
MISSIONS AND TRAVELS.
METHINKS that to some vacant hermitage
Not sedentary all: there are who roam
To scatter seeds of life on barbarous shores ; Hurled down a mountain-cove from stage to stage, Or quit with zealous step their knee-worn floors Yet tempering, for my sight, its bustling rage
To seek the general mart of Christendom; In the soft heaven of a translucent pool;
Whence they, like richly-laden merchants, come
To their beloved cells :—or shall we say
That, like the Red-cross Knight, they urge their way, Would elevate my dreams. A beechen bowl,
To lead in memorable triumph home A maple dish, my furniture should be ;
Truth, their immortal Una ? Babylon, Crisp, yellow leaves my bed; the hooting owl
Learned and wise, hath perished utterly, My night-watch: nor should e'er the crested fowl Nor leaves her Speech one word to aid the sigh From thorp or vill his matins sound for me,
That would lament her;—Memphis, Tyre, are gone Tired of the world and all its industry.
With all their Arts,—but classic lore glides on
But what if One, through grove or flowery mead,
Behold a pupil of the monkish gown,
* He expired dictating the last words of a translation of St. John's Gospel.
* See Note.
When thy great soul was freed from mortal chains, A PLEASANT music floats along the Mere,
While-as Canùte the King is rowing by: [near, Flowed in thy line through undegenerate veins. “ My Oarsmen,” quoth the mighty King, “ draw The Race of Alfred covet glorious pains
“ That we the sweet song of the Monks may hear !” When dangers threaten, dangers ever new! He listens (all past conquests and all schemes Black tempests bursting, blacker still in view! Of future vanishing like empty dreams) But manly sovereignty its hold retains ;
Heart-touched, and haply not without a tear. The root sincere, the branches bold to strive The Royal Minstrel, ere the choir is still, With the fierce tempest, while, within the round While his free Barge skims the smooth flood along, Of their protection, gentle virtues thrive;
Gives to that rapture an accordant Rhyme*. As oft, ʼmid some green plot of open ground, O suffering Earth! be thankful ; sternest clime Wide as the oak extends its dewy gloom,
And rudest age are subject to the thrill The fostered hyacinths spread their purple bloom. Of heaven-descended Piety and Song.
URGED by Ambition, who with subtlest skill
THE NORMAN CONQUEST.
Coldly we spake. The Saxons, overpowered DANISH CONQUESTS.
By wrong triumphant through its own excess, Woe to the Crown that doth the Cowl obey* ! From fields laid waste, from house and home Dissension, checking arms that would restrain
devoured The incessant Rovers of the northern main, By flames, look up to heaven and crave redress Helps to restore and spread a Pagan sway: From God's eternal justice. Pitiless But Gospel-truth is potent to allay
Though men be, there are angels that can feel Fierceness and rage; and soon the cruel Dane
For wounds that death alone has power to heal, Feels, through the influence of her gentle reign, For penitent guilt, and innocent distress. His native superstitions melt away.
And has a Champion risen in arms to try Thus, often, when thick gloom the east o'ershrouds, His Country's virtue, fought, and breathes no more; The full-orbed Moon, slow-climbing, doth appear Him in their hearts the people canonize ; Silently to consume the heavy clouds ;
And far above the mine's most precious ore How no one can resolve; but every eye
The least small pittance of bare mould they prize Around her sees, while air is hushed, a clear Scooped from the sacred earth where his dear relics And widening circuit of ethereal sky.
* See Note.
* Which is still extant.
THE COUNCIL OF CLERMONT.
AN INTERDICT. “And shall,” the Pontiff asks,“ profaneness flow REALMS quake by turns : proud Arbitress of grace, “ From Nazareth-source of Christian piety,
The Church, by mandate shadowing forth the “ From Bethlehem, from the Mounts of Agony
power “ And glorified Ascension ? Warriors, go,
She arrogates o'er heaven's eternal door, “With prayers and blessings we your path will sow; Closes the gates of every sacred place. “ Like Moses hold our hands erect, till ye
Straight from the sun and tainted air's embrace “ Have chased far off by righteous victory All sacred things are covered: cheerful morn “ These sons of Amalek, or laid them low !"
Grows sad as night-no seemly garb is worn, “GOD WILLETH it," the whole assembly cry ; Nor is a face allowed to meet a face Shout which the enraptured multitude astounds !
With natural smiles of greeting. Bells are dumb; The Council-roof and Clermont's towers reply ;
Ditches are graves--funereal rites denied ; “God willeth it," from hill to hill rebounds, And in the church-yard he must take his bride And, in awe-stricken Countries far and nigh,
Who dares be wedded ! Fancies thickly come Through “ Nature's hollow arch' that voice Into the pensive heart ill fortified, resounds *.
And comfortless despairs the soul benumb.
The turbaned Race are poured in thickening swarms
The gross materials of this world present
A marvellous study of wild accident; The scimitar, that yields not to the charms
Uncouth proximities of old and new; Of ease, the narrow Bosphorus will disdain
And bold transfigurations, more untrue Nor long (that crossed) would Grecian hills detain (As might be deemed) to disciplined intent Their tents, and check the current of their arms.
Than aught the sky's fantastic element, Then blame not those who, by the mightiest lever
When most fantastic, offers to the view. Known to the moral world, Imagination,
Saw we not Henry scourged at Becket's shrine? Upheave, so seems it, from her natural station
Lo! John self-stripped of his insignia :-crown, All Christendom :—they sweep along (was never Sceptre and mantle, sword and ring, laid down So huge a host !)—to tear from the Unbeliever
At a proud Legate's feet! The spears that line The precious Tomb, their haven of salvation.
Baronial halls, the opprobrious insult feel;
SCENE IN VENICE.
REDOUBTED King, of courage leonine,
Black Demons hovering o'er his mitred head,
* The decision of this council was believed to be instantly known in remote parts of Europe.
UNLESS to Peter's Chair the viewless wind
“ HERE Man more purely lives, less oft doth fall, What further empire would it have? for now “ More promptly rises, walks with stricter heed, A ghostly Domination, unconfined
“More safely rests, dies happier, is freed As that by dreaming Bards to Love assigned, “Earlier from cleansing fires, and gains withal Sits there in sober truth—to raise the low, “A brighter crown *.”-On yon Cistertian wall Perplex the wise, the strong to overthrow;
That confident assurance may be read; Through earth and heaven to bind and to unbind !- And, to like shelter, from the world have fled Resist—the thunder quails thee !-crouch-rebuff Increasing multitudes. The potent call Shall be thy recompence! from land to land Doubtless shall cheat full oft the heart's desires ; The ancient thrones of Christendom are stuff Yet, while the rugged Age on pliant knee For occupation of a magic wand,
Vows to rapt Fancy humble fealty, And 'tis the Pope that wields it :-whether rough A gentler life spreads round the holy spires; Or smooth his front, our world is in his hand ! Where'er they rise, the sylvan waste retires,
And aëry harvests crown the fertile lea.
TO THE CLOSE OF THE TROUBLES IN THE REIGN OF
DEPLORABLE his lot who tills the ground,
To each new Master, like a steer or hound,
Or like a rooted tree, or stone earth-bound; By Angels guarded, deviate from the line
But mark how gladly, through their own domains, Prescribed to duty :-woeful forfeiture
The Monks relax or break these iron chains; He made by wilful breach of law divine.
While Mercy, uttering, through their voice, a sound With like perverseness did the Church abjure
Echoed in Heaven, cries out, “ Ye Chiefs, abate Obedience to her Lord, and haste to twine, 'Mid Heaven-born flowers that shall for aye endure, and nature God disdained not; Man—whose soul
These legalized oppressions ! Man-whose name Weeds on whose front the world had fixed her sign. Christ died for-cannot forfeit his high claim O Man,-if with thy trials thus it fares,
To live and move exempt from all controul
Which fellow-feeling doth not mitigate !"
Record we too, with just and faithful pen,
That many hooded Cenobites there are, From false assumption rose, and fondly hail'd
Who in their private cells have yet a care By superstition, spread the Papal power;
Of public quiet; unambitious Men, Yet do not deem the Autocracy prevail'd
Counsellors for the world, of piercing ken;
Whose fervent exhortations from afar
And oft-times in the most forbidding den
How patiently the yoke of thought they bear! Realm there is none that if contrould or sway'd
How subtly glide its finest threads along ! By her commands partakes not, in degree,
Spirits that crowd the intellectual sphere Of good, o'er manners arts and arms, diffused :
With mazy boundaries, as the astronomer
With orb and cycle girds the starry throng.
* See Note.
MONKS AND SCHOOLMEN.
And, not in vain embodied to the sight,
As faith thus sanctified the warrior's crest
And what melodious sounds at times prevail !
Where long and deeply hath been fixed the root
The tapers burn; the odorous incense feeds
And, while the Host is raised, its elevation The vow performed, in cross-legged effigy, An awe and supernatural horror breeds; Devoutly stretched upon their chancel floors. And all the people bow their heads, like reeds Am I deceived? Or is their requiem chanted To a soft breeze, in lowly adoration. By voices never mute when Heaven unties This Valdo brooks not. On the banks of Rhone Her inmost, softest, tenderest harmonies ;
He taught, till persecution chased him thence, Requiem which Earth takes up with voice undaunted, To adore the Invisible, and Him alone. When she would tell how Brave, and Good, and Nor are his Followers loth to seek defence, Wise,
Mid woods and wilds, on Nature's craggy throne, For their high guerdon not in vain have panted ! From rites that trample upon soul and sense.