Reproduced by kind permission of University College Cork’s Corpus of Electronic Texts (CELT), the online resource for Irish history, literature and politics.
- 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,
- 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.
- 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, —
- 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.
- 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;
- 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.
- 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; —
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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;
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 57] Refectory cold and empty,
58] dormitory bleak and bare,
59] Where are now your pious uses,
60] simple bed and frugal fare?
- 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.
- 65] O! the hardship, O! the hatred,
66] tyranny, and cruel war,
67] Persecution and oppression,
68] that have left you as you are!
- 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.
- 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;
- 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.