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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By Digby Mackworth-Dolben (1848–1867)

The Shrine

THERE 1 is a shrine whose golden gate
Was opened by the Hand of God;
It stands serene, inviolate,
Though millions have its pavement trod;
As fresh as when the first sunrise        5
Awoke the lark in Paradise.
’Tis compass’d with the dust and toil
Of common days, yet should there fall
A single speck, a single soil,
Upon the whiteness of its wall,        10
The angels’ tears in tender rain
Would make the temple theirs again.
Without, the world is tired and old;
But once within the enchanted door,
The mists of time are backward rolled,        15
And creeds and ages are no more,
But all the human-hearted meet
In one communion vast and sweet.
I enter; all is simply fair,
Nor incense clouds, nor carven throne,        20
But in the fragrant morning air
A gentle lady sits alone;
My mother—ah! whom should I see
Within, save ever only thee?
Note 1. Digby Mackworth-Dolben was drowned while bathing. His verses, a few of which are here printed for the first time, show remarkable poetical gifts. “The Shrine” is an original and most successful contribution to a class of poems where success is rare and difficult, poems of filial love; and should be widely popular. The second poem, somewhat more youthful in manner, and bearing plain traces of Rossetti’s influence, may be printed here for the beauty of many of its lines. The first verse is an especially fine piece of imagination. [back]