Page images
PDF
EPUB

ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS.

IN SERIES.

PART I.

FROM THE INTRODUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY INTO BRITAIN, TO THE CONSUMMMATION OF THE

PAPAL DOMINION.

“ A verse may catch a wandering Soul, that flies

Profounder Tracts, and by a blest surprise
Convert delight into a Sacrifice.”

I.

INTRODUCTION.

I, who accompanied with faithful pace
Cerulean Duddon from its cloud-fed spring,
And loved with spirit ruled by his to sing
Of mountain-quiet and boon nature's grace, -
I, who essayed the nobler Stream to trace
Of Liberty, and smote the plausive string
Till the checked torrent, proudly triumphing,
Won for herself a lasting resting-place, -

Now seek upon the heights of Time the source
Of a Holy RIVER, on whose banks are found
Sweet pastoral flowers, and laurels that have

crowned
Full oft the unworthy brow of lawless force;
And, for delight of him who tracks its course,
Immortal amaranth and palms abound.

II.

CONJECTURES.

If there be prophets on whose spirits rest
Past things, revealed like future, they can tell
What Powers, presiding o'er the sacred well
Of Christian Faith, this savage Island blessed
With its first bounty. Wandering through the west,
Did holy Paul* a while in Britain dwell,
And call the Fountain forth by miracle,
And with dread signs the nascent Stream invest ?
Or he, whose bonds dropped off, whose prison doors
Flew open, by an Angel's voice unbarred ?
Or some of humbler name, to these wild shores
Storm-driven, who, having seen the cup

of Pass from their Master, sojourned here to guard The precious Current they had taught to flow?

woe

* See Note.

m.

TREPIDATION OF THE DRUIDS.

SCREAMS round the Arch-druid's brow the seamew,

white As Menai’s foam ; and toward the mystic ring Where Augurs stand, the Future questioning, Slowly the cormorant aims her heavy flight, Portending ruin to each baleful rite, That, in the lapse of ages, hath crept o'er Diluvian truths, and patriarchal lore. Haughty the Bard: can these meek doctrines blight His transports ? wither his heroic strains ? But all shall be fulfilled ;

the Julian spear A way first opened ; and, with Roman chains, The tidings come of Jesus crucified ; They come, - they spread,- the weak, the suffer

ing, hear; Receive the faith, and in the hope abide.

IV.

DRUIDICAL EXCOMMUNICATION.

MERCY and Love have met thee on thy road,
Thou wretched Outcast, from the gift of fire

* This water-fowl was, mong the Druids, an emblem of those traditions connected with the deluge that made an important part of their mysteries. The Cormorant was a bird of bad omen.

And food cut off by sacerdotal ire,
From every sympathy that Man bestowed !
Yet shall it claim our reverence, that to God,
Ancient of days! that to the eternal Sire,
These jealous Ministers of law aspire,
As to the one sole fount whence wisdom flowed,
Justice, and order. Tremblingly escaped,
As if with prescience of the coming storm,
That intimation when the stars were shaped ;
And still, ʼmid yon thick woods, the primal truth
Glimmers through many a superstitious form
That fills the Soul with unavailing ruth.

V.

UNCERTAINTY.

DARKNESS surrounds us ; seeking, we are lost
On Snowdon's wilds, amid Brigantian coves,
Or where the solitary shepherd roves
Along the plain of Sarum, by the ghost
Of Time and shadows of Tradition crost;
And where the boatman of the Western Isles
Slackens his course, to mark those holy piles
Which yet survive on bleak Iona's coast.
Nor these, nor monuments of eldest name,
Nor Taliesin's unforgotten lays,
Nor characters of Greek or Roman fame,
To an unquestionable Source have led;
Enough, if eyes, that sought the fountain-head
In vain, upon the growing Rill may gaze.

VI.

PERSECUTION.

It rages;

LAMENT! for Diocletian's fiery sword
Works busy as the lightning; but instinct
With malice ne'er to deadliest

weapon

linked, Which God's ethereal store-houses afford : Against the Followers of the incarnate Lord

some are smitten in the field, Some pierced to the heart through the ineffectual

shield Of sacred home; — with pomp are others gored, And dreadful respite. Thus was Alban tried, England's first Martyr, whom no threats could

shake; Self-offered victim, for his friend he died, And for the faith ; nor shall his name forsake That Hill, whose flowery platform seems to rise By Nature decked for holiest sacrifice.*

[ocr errors]

VII.

RECOVERY.

As, when a storm hath ceased, the birds regain
Their cheerfulness, and busily retrim
Their nests, or chant a gratulating hymn
To the blue ether and bespangled plain ;

* See Note.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »