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Yet none so prompt to succour and protect
The forlorn traveller, or sailor wrecked

On the bare coast; nor do they grudge the boon
Which staff and cockle hat and sandal shoon
Claim for the pilgrim: and, though chidings sharp
May sometimes greet the strolling minstrel's harp,
It is not then when, swept with sportive ease,
It charms a feast-day throng of all degrees,
Brightening the archway of revered St. Bees.

How did the cliffs and echoing hills rejoice
What time the Benedictine brethren's voice,
Imploring, or commanding with meet pride,
Summoned the Chiefs to lay their feuds aside,
And under one blest ensign serve the Lord
In Palestine. Advance, indignant sword!
Flaming till thou from Paynim hands release
That tomb, dread centre of all sanctities
Nursed in the quiet abbey of St. Bees.

But look we now to them whose minds from far
Follow the fortunes which they may not share.
While in Judea fancy loves to roam.
She helps to make a Holy-land at home:
The star of Bethlehem from its sphere invites
To sound the crystal depth of maiden rights;
And wedded life, through scriptural mysteries,
Heavenward ascends with all her charities,
Taught by the hooded celibates of St. Bees.

Nor be it e'er forgotten how by skill

Of cloistered architects, free their souls to fill
With love of God, throughout the land were raised
Churches, on whose symbolic beauty gazed
Peasant and mail-clad chief with pious awe;
As at this day men seeing what they saw,
Or the bare wreck of faith's solemnities,
Aspire to more than earthly destinies ;
Witness yon pile that greets us from St. Bees.

Yet more; around those churches, gathered towns
Safe from the feudal castle's haughty frowns;
Peaceful abodes, where justice might uphold
Her scales with even hand, and culture mould
The heart to pity, train the mind in care
For rules of life, sound as the time could bear.
Nor dost thou fail, thro' abject love of ease,
Or hindrance raised by sordid purposes,
To bear thy part in this good work, St. Bees.

Who with the ploughshare clove the barren moors,
And to green meadows changed the swampy shores?
Thinned the rank woods; and for the cheerful grange
Made room where wolf and boar were used to range?
Who taught, and showed by deeds, that gentler

Should bind the vassal to his lord's domains?
The thoughtful monks, intent their God to please,
For Christ's dear sake, by human sympathies
Poured from the bosom of thy church, St. Bees!

But all availed not; by a mandate given
Through lawless will the brotherhood was driven
Forth from their cells; their ancient house laid low
In Reformation's sweeping overthrow.

But now once more the local heart revives,
The inextinguishable spirit strives.

Oh may that power who hushed the stormy seas,
And cleared a way for the first votaries,
Prosper the new-born college of St. Bees!

Alas! the genius of our age, from schools
Less humble, draws her lessons, aims, and rules.
To prowess guided by her insight keen
Matter and Spirit are as one machine;
Boastful idolatress of formal skill

She in her own would merge the eternal will:
Better, if reason's triumphs match with these,
Her flight before the bold credulities

That furthered the first teaching of St. Bees.


RANGING the heights of Scawfell or Blackcomb,
In his lone course the shepherd oft will pause,
And strive to fathom the mysterious laws
By which the clouds, arrayed in light or gloom,
On Mona settle, and the shapes assume
Of all her peaks and ridges. What he draws
From sense, faith, reason, fancy, of the cause,
He will take with him to the silent tomb.
Or by his fire, a child upon his knee,
Haply the untaught philosopher may speak
Of the strange sight, nor hide his theory
That satisfies the simple and the meek,
Blest in their pious ignorance, though weak
To cope with sages undevoutly free.


ONCE on the top of Tynwald's formal mound
(Still marked with green turf circles narrowing
Stage above stage) would sit this Island's King,
The laws to promulgate, enrobed and crowned;
While, compassing the grassy mount around,
Degrees and orders stood, each under each :
Now, like to things within fate's easiest reach,
The power is merged, the pomp a grave has found.
Off with yon cloud, old Snafell! that thine eye
Over three realms may take its widest range;
And let, for them, thy fountains utter strange
Voices, thy winds break forth in prophecy,
If the whole state must suffer mortal change,
Like Mona's miniature of sovereignty.


During an Eclipse of the Sun, July 17.

SINCE risen from ocean, ocean to defy,
Appeared the crag of Ailsa, ne'er did morn
With gleaming lights more gracefully adorn
His sides, or wreathe with mist his forehead high :
Now, faintly darkening with the sun's eclipse,
Still is he seen, in lone sublimity,

Towering above the sea and little ships;
For dwarfs the tallest seem while sailing by,
Each for her haven; with her freight of care,
Pleasure, or grief, and toil that seldom looks
Into the secret of to-morrow's fare;

Though poor, yet rich, without the wealth of books,
Or aught that watchful love to Nature owes

For her mute powers, fixed forms, or transient shows.


OFT have I caught, upon a fitful breeze,
Fragments of far-off melodies,
With ear not coveting the whole,
A part so charmed the pensive soul:
While a dark storm before my sight
Was yielding, on a mountain height
Loose vapours have I watched, that won
Prismatic colours from the sun;

Nor felt a wish that heaven would show
The image of its perfect bow.

What need, then, of these finished strains?
Away with counterfeit remains!

An abbey in its lone recess,

A temple of the wilderness,

Wrecks though they be, announce with feeling
The majesty of honest dealing.
Spirit of Ossian! if imbound

In language thou may'st yet be found,
If aught (intrusted to the pen
Or floating on the tongues of men,
Albeit shattered and impaired)
Subsist thy dignity to guard,

In concert with memorial claim
Of old grey stone, and high-born name
That cleaves to rock or pillared cave
Where moans the blast, or beats the wave,
Let truth, stern arbitress of all,

Interpret that original,

And for presumptuous wrongs atone ;—
Authentic words be given, or none !

Time is not blind; yet He, who spares
Pyramid pointing to the stars,
Hath preyed with ruthless appetite
On all that marked the primal flight
Of the poetic ecstasy

Into the land of mystery.

No tongue is able to rehearse

One measure, Orpheus! of thy verse;
Musæus, stationed with his lyre
Supreme among the Elysian quire,
Is, for the dwellers upon earth,
Mute as a lark ere morning's birth.
Why grieve for these, though past away
The music, and extinct the lay?
When thousands, by severer doom,
Full early to the silent tomb

Have sunk, at Nature's call; or strayed
From hope and promise, self-betrayed;
The garland withering on their brows;
Stung with remorse for broken vows;
Frantic, else how might they rejoice?
And friendless, by their own sad choice!

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