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Restoration Of Malmesbury Abbey Post by :patrickong Category :Poems Author :William Lisle Bowles Date :October 2011 Read :2720

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Restoration Of Malmesbury Abbey

Restoration of Malmesbury Abbey.(1)

Monastic and time-consecrated fane!
Thou hast put on thy shapely state again,
Almost august as in thy early day,
Ere ruthless Henry rent thy pomp away.
No more the mass on holidays is sung,
The Host high raised, or fuming censer swung;
No more, in amice white, the fathers, slow,
With lighted tapers, in long order go;
Yet the tall window lifts its arched height,
As to admit heaven's pale, but purer light;
Those massy clustered columns, whose long rows,
Even at noonday, in shadowy pomp repose,
Amid the silent sanctity of death,
Like giants seem to guard the dust beneath.
Those roofs re-echo (though no altars blaze)
The prayer of penitence, the hymn of praise;
Whilst meek Religion's self, as with a smile,
Reprints the tracery of the holy pile,
Worthy its guest, the temple. What remains?
O mightiest Master! thy immortal strains
These roofs demand; listen! with prelude slow,
Solemnly sweet, yet full, the organs blow.
And, hark! again, heard ye the choral chant
Peal through the echoing arches, jubilant?
More softly now, imploring litanies,
Wafted to heaven, and mingling with the sighs
Of penitence from yon altar rise;
Again the vaulted roof "Hosannahs" rings--
"Hosannah! Lord of lords, and King of kings!"
Rent, but not prostrate; stricken, yet sublime;
Reckless alike of injuries or time;
Thou, unsubdued, in silent majesty,
The tempest hast defied and shalt defy!
The temple of our Sion so shall mock
The muttering storm, the very earthquake's shock,
Founded, O Christ, on thy eternal rock!

(Footnote 201: This majestic but dilapidated pile has been repaired at great expense, and with taste and judgment, in every respect consonant to and worthy of its ancient character. These verses were written under the contemplation of this singularly beautiful and unique pile being open again for public worship by a sacred musical performance.)

(The end)
William Lisle Bowles's poem: Restoration Of Malmesbury Abbey

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