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GLASTONBURY ABBEY AND WELLS CATHEDRAL.
YLORY and boast of Avalon's fair vale, U How beautiful thy ancient turrets rose ! Fancy yet sees them, in the sunshine pale, Gleaming, or, more majestic in repose, When, west-away the crimson landscape glows, Casting their shadows on the waters wide. How sweet the sounds, that, at still daylight's close, Came blended with the airs of eventide, When through the glimmering aisle faint “ Misereres
But all is silent now! silent the bell,
That, heard from yonder ivied turret high,
Warned the cowled brother from his midnight cell;
Silent the vesper-chant, the litany
Responsive to the organ! --- scattered lie
The wrecks of the proud pile, mid arches gray,
Whilst hollow winds through mantling ivy sigh!
And even the mouldering shrine is rent away,
Where in his warrior weeds the British Arthur lay.
Now look upon the sister fane of Wells !
It lifts its forehead in the summer air;
Sweet o'er the champaign sound its sabbath bells;
Its roof rolls back the chant, or voice of prayer.
Anxious we ask, Will Heaven that temple spare,
Or mortal tempest sweep it from its state ?
O, say, shall time revere the fabric fair,
Or shall it meet, in distant years, thy fate,
Shattered, proud pile, like thee, and left as desolate ?
No! to subdue or elevate the soul,
Our best, our purest feelings to refine,
Still shall the solemn diapasons roll
Through that high fane! still hues reflected shine
From the tall windows on the sculptured shrine,
Tingeing the pavement! for He shall afford,
He who directs the storm, his aid divine,
Because its Sion has not left thy word,
Nor sought for other guide than thee, Almighty Lord!
William Lisle Bowles.
THEN Arthur bowed his haughty crest,
No princess, veiled in azure vest,
Snatched him, by Merlin's potent spell,
In groves of golden bliss to dwell,
Where, crowned with wreaths of mistletoe,
Slaughtered kings in glory go:
But when he fell, with wingéd speed,
His champions, on a milk-white steed,
From the battle's hurricane,
Bore him to Joseph's towered fane,
In the fair vale of Avalon :
There, with chanted orison,
And the long blaze of tapers clear,
The stoléd fathers met the bier :
Through the dim aisles, in order dread
Of martial woe, the chief they led,
And deep intombed in holy ground,
Before the altar's solemn bound.
Around no dusky banners wave,
No mouldering trophies mark the grave:
Away the ruthless Dane has torn
Each trace that Time's slow touch had worn;
And long o'er the neglected stone
Oblivion's veil its shade has thrown.
THE SISTERS OF GLEN NECTAN.
In a rocky gorge, midway between the castles of Bottreau and Dundagel, there is a fall of waters into a hollow caldron of native stone, which has borne for ten centuries the name of St. Nectan's Kieve.
T is from Nectan's mossy steep
The foamy waters flash and leap;
It is where shrinking wild-flowers grow
They lave the nymph that dwells below.
But wherefore in this far-off dell
The reliques of a human cell,
Where the sad stream and lonely wind
Bring man no tidings of his kind ?
“Long years agone,” the old man said,
’T was told him by his grandsire dead,
“One day two ancient sisters came;
None there could tell their race or name.
“ Their speech was not in Cornish phrase,
Their garb had signs of loftier days;
Slight food they took from hands of men,
They withered slowly in that glen.
“One died, the other's sunken eye Gushed till the fount of tears was dry; A wild and withering thought had she, 'I shall have none to weep for me.'
They found lier silent at the last,
Bent in the shape wherein she passed,
Where her lone seat long used to stand,
Her head upon her shrivelled hand.”
Did fancy give this legend birth, -
The grandame's tale for winter hearth ?
Or some dead bard, by Nectan's stream,
People these banks with such a dream ?
We know not; but it suits the scene
To think such wild things here have been :
What spot more meet could grief or sin
Choose, at the last, to wither in ?
Robert Stephen Hawker.
BELIEVE me, noble lord, I am a stranger here in Gloustershire. These high wild hills and rough uneven ways Draw out our miles, and make them wearisome, And yet your fair discourse hath been as sugar, Making the hard way sweet and délectable. But, I bethink me, what a weary way From Ravenspurg to Cotswold will be found In Ross and Willoughby, wanting your company; Which, I protest, hath very much beguiled The tediousness and process of my travel.
T early dawn, or rather when the air
Glimmers with fading light, and shadowy eve Is busiest to confer and to bereave; Then, pensive votary ! let thy feet repair To Gordale chasm, terrific as the lair Where the young lions couch; for so, by leave of the propitious hour, thou mayst perceive The local deity, with oozy hair