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22

Reproduced by kind permission of University College Cork’s Corpus of Electronic Texts (CELT), the online resource for Irish history, literature and politics.

    1. 1] Lone and weary as I wander’d
      2] by the bleak shore of the sea,
      3] Meditating and reflecting
      4] on the world’s hard destiny,
    2. 5] Forth the moon and stars ‘gan glimmer,
      6] in the quiet tide beneath,
      7] For on slumbering spring and blossom
      8] breathed not out of heaven a breath.
    3. 9] On I went in sad dejection,
      10] careless where my footsteps bore,
      11] Till a ruined church before me
      12] opened wide its ancient door, —
    4. 13] Till I stood before the portals,
      14] where of old were wont to be,
      15] For the blind, the halt, and leper,
      16] alms and hospitality.
    5. 17] Still the ancient seat was standing,
      18] built against the buttress grey,
      19] Where the clergy used to welcome
      20] weary trav’llers on their way;

p.105

    1. 21] There I sat me down in sadness,
      22] neath my cheek I placed my hand,
      23] Till the tears fell hot and briny
      24] down upon the grassy land.
    2. 25] There, I said in woful sorrow,
      26] weeping bitterly the while,
      27] Was a time when joy and gladness
      28] reigned within this ruined pile; —
    3. 29] Was a time when bells were tinkling,
      30] clergy preaching peace abroad,
      31] Psalms a-singing, music ringing
      32] praises to the mighty God.
    4. 33] Empty aisle, deserted chancel,
      34] tower tottering to your fall,
      35] Many a storm since then has beaten
      36] on the grey head of your wall!
    5. 37] Many a bitter storm and tempest
      38] has your roof-tree turned away,
      39] Since you first were formed a temple
      40] to the Lord of night and day.

p.106

    1. 41] Holy house of ivied gables,
      42] that were once the country’s boast,
      43] Houseless now in weary wandering
      44] are you scattered, saintly host;
    2. 45] Lone you are to-day, and dismal,
      46] — joyful psalms no more are heard,
      47] Where, within your choir, her vesper
      48] screeches the cat-headed bird.
    3. 49] Ivy from your eaves is growing,
      50] nettles round your green hearth-stone,
      51] Foxes howl, where, in your corners,
      52] dropping waters make their moan.
    4. 53] Where the lark to early matins
      54] used your clergy forth to call,
      55] There, alas! no tongue is stirring,
      56] save the daw’s upon the wall.
    5. 57] Refectory cold and empty,
      58] dormitory bleak and bare,
      59] Where are now your pious uses,
      60] simple bed and frugal fare?
    6. 61] Gone your abbot, rule and order,
      62] broken down your altar stones;
      63] Nought see I beneath your shelter,
      64] save a heap of clayey bones.

p.107

    1. 65] O! the hardship, O! the hatred,
      66] tyranny, and cruel war,
      67] Persecution and oppression,
      68] that have left you as you are!
    2. 69] I myself once also prosper’d; —
      70] mine is, too, an alter’d plight;
      71] Trouble, care, and age have left me
      72] good for nought but grief to-night.
    3. 73] Gone my motion and my vigour —
      74] gone the use of eye and ear,
      75] At my feet lie friends and children,
      76] powerless and corrupting here;
    4. 77] Woe is written on my visage,
      78] in a nut my heart could lie —
      79] Death’s deliverance were welcome —
      80] Father, let the old man die.
Sir Samuel Ferguson
 
 
 
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