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Far and near the pilgrims throng,

With staff and humble mien,
Where Glastonbury's crown of towers

Against the sky is seen.
By the holy thorn and the holy well,

And Saint Joseph's silver shrine,
They offer thanks to highest Heaven

For the light and grace divine;
In the open cheer of the abbaye near

They dwell their purposed day,
And then they part, with blessed thoughts,

Each on his homeward way.


The winds are high in Saint Michael's Tor,

And a sorry sight is there,
A dark-browed band, with spear in hand,

Mount up the turret-stair;
With heavy cheer and lifted palms

There kneels a holy priest;
The fiends of death they grudge his breath

To hold their rapine-feast.

The cloud comes on them, the vision is changed,

And a crash of lofty walls, And the short dead sound of music quenched,

On the sickened hearing falls;
Quick and sharp is the ruin-cry,

Unblest the ages glide;
And once again the mist from the plain

Rolls up the Mendip side.

Low sloping over sea and field

The setting ray had past,
On roofs and curls of quiet smoke

The glory-flush was cast.
Clustered upon the western side

Of Avalon's green hill, Her ancient homes and fretted towers

Were lying, bright and still;

And lower, in the valley-field,

Hid from the parting day,
A brotherhood of columns old,

A ruin rough and gray ;
And over all, Saint Michael's Tor

Spired up into the sky, –
Most like to Tabor's holy mount

Of vision blest and high.

The vision changeth not,

no cloud Comes down the Mendip side; The moors spread out beneath my feet

Their free expanse and wide; On glittering cots and ancient towers

That rise among the dells, On mountain and on bending stream,

The light of evening dwells.

I may not write,

I cannot say What change shall next betide ; Whether that group of columns gray

Untroubled shall abide,

Or whether that pile in Avalon's isle

Some pious hand shall raise,
And the vaulted arches ring once more

With pealing chants of praise.




Henry Alford.



thy green marge, thou vale of Avalon,

Not for that thou art crowned with ancient towers And shafts and clustered pillars many an one, Love I to dream away the sunny hours; Not for that here in charmed slumber lie The holy relics of that British king Who was the flower of knightly chivalry, Do I stand blest past power of uttering; But for that on thy cowslip-sprinkled sod Alit of old the olive-bearing bird, Meek messenger of purchased peace with God; And the first hymns that Britain ever heard Arose, the low preluding melodies To the sweetest anthem that hath reached the skies.

Henry Alford.


THROUGH Glastonbury's cloister dim

The midnight winds were sighing;
Chanting a low funereal hymn

For those in silence lying,
Death's gentle flock mid shadows grim

Fast bound, and unreplying.

Hard by the monks their mass were saying;

The organ evermore
Its wave in alternation swaying

On that smooth swell upbore
The voice of their melodious praying

Toward heaven's eternal shore.


Erelong a princely multitude

Moved on through arches gray
Which yet, though shattered, stand where stood

(God grant they stand for aye!) Saint Joseph's church of woven wood

On England's baptism day.

The grave they found; their swift strokes fell,

Piercing dull earth and stone.
They reached erelong an oaken cell,

And cross of oak, whereon
Was graved, “Here sleeps King Arthur well,

In the isle of Avalon.”

The mail on every knightly breast,

The steel at each man's side,
Sent forth a sudden gleam; each crest

Bowed low its pluméd pride ;
Down o’er the coffin stooped a priest,

But first the monarch cried :

“Great King! in youth I made a vow

Earth's mightiest son to greet; His hand to worship; on bis brow

his Therefore, though dead, till noontide thou

Shalt fill my royal seat !”

To gaze;

grace entreat.

Away the massive lid they rolled,

Alas! what found they there?
No kingly brow, no shapely mould;

But dust where such things were.
Ashes o'er ashes, fold on fold,

And one bright wreath of bair.

Genevra's hair! like gold it lay;

For Time, though stern, is just,
And humbler things feel last his sway,

And Death reveres his trust.
They touched that wreath; it sank away

From sunshine into dust!

Then Henry lifted from his head

The Conqueror's iron crown;
That crown upon that dust he laid,

And knelt in reverence down,
And raised both hands to heaven, and said,

“ Thou God art King alone!”


Aubrey de Vere.

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