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Man! whose high intellect supplies

A never-failing Paradise

Of holy and enrapturing pursuits,

Whose heart 's a fount of fresh delight,

Pity the Cynics who would blight

Thy godlike gifts, and rank thee with the brutes.

Oh Woman! who from realms above

Hast brought to Earth the heaven of love,

Terrestrial angel, beautiful as pure!

No pains, no penalties dispense

On thy traducers—their offence

Is its own punishment most sharp and sure.

Father and God! whose love and might

To every sense are blazon'd bright

On the vast three-leaved Bible-earth-sea-sky,

Pardon th' impugners of thy laws,
Expand their hearts, and give them cause

To bless th’ exhaustless grace they now deny.


The following Stanzas were composed while the author was sitting

outside a Country Church in Sussex, much regretting that, as it was week day, he could not gain admittance to the sacred edifice.

Why are our Churches shut with jealous care,

Bolted and barr'd against our bosom's yearning,

Save for the few short hours of Sabbath prayer,

With the bell's tolling statedly returning?

Why are they shut:

If with diurnal drudgeries o’erwrought,

Or sick of dissipation’s dull vagaries,
We wish to snatch one little space for thought,

Or holy respite in our sanctuaries,

Why are they shut?

What! shall the Church, the House of Prayer, no more

Give tacit notice from its fasten'd portals,

That for six days 'tis useless to adore,

Since God will hold no communings with mortals?

Why are they shut?

Are there no sinners in the churchless week,

Who wish to sanctify a vow'd repentance?

. Are there no hearts bereft which fain would seek

The only balm for Death’s unpitying sentence?

Why are they shut?

Are there no poor, no wrong'd, no heirs of grief,

No sick, who, when their strength or courage falters,

Long for a moment's respite or relief,

By kneeling at the GOD OF MERCY's altars?

Why are they shut?

Are there no wicked, whom, if tempted in,

Some qualm of conscience or devout suggestion

Might suddenly redeem from future sin ?

Oh! if there be, how solemn is the question,

Why are they shut?

In foreign climes mechanics leave their tasks

To breathe a passing prayer in their Cathedrals:

There they have week-day shrines, and no one asks,

When he would kneel to them, and count his bead


Why are they shut?

Seeing them enter sad and disconcerted,

To quit those cheering fanes with looks of gladness How often have my thoughts to ours reverted!

How oft have I exclaim’d, in tones of sadness,

Why are they shut?

For who within a Parish Church can stroll,

Wrapt in its week-day stillness and vacation,

Nor feel that in the very air his soul

Receives a sweet and hallowing lustration?

Why are they shut?

The vacant pews, blank aisles, and empty choir,

in a deep sepulchral silence shrouded,

An awe more solemn and intense inspire,
Than when with Sabbath congregations crowded.

Why are they shut?

The echoes of our footsteps, as we tread

On hollow graves, are spiritual voices;

And holding mental converse with the dead,

In holy reveries our soul rejoices.

Why are they shut?

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