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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.


Inscription for the Ruin of a Village Cross

By Henry Alford (1810–1871)

Hathern, Leicestershire

THE SIMPLE folk once used to throng

These mouldering steps beneath,

And every child that passed along

Its soft petitions breathe,

In pious days of yore.

The workingmen at dawn of day

Were here assembled kneeling,

And to their labor bore away

A calm of holy feeling,

In Christian days of yore.

Till once a stalwart company

Of men with gloomy faces,

Unlike the men ye used to see

In such-like holy places

In quiet days of yore,

With savage hands pulled down the sign

Of our Redeemer’s sorrow,

And promised in more force to join,

And break the rest to-morrow,—

Hating the days of yore.

But Providence from then till now

This remnant hath befriended,

And by this shaft and time-worn steps

The memory hath defended

Of the good days of yore.

And still, whene’er the good and great

On common times pass nigh me,

Though no petition they repeat,

Nor kneel in silence by me,

As in the days of yore;

Yet blessed thoughts upon their hearts

From Heaven come gently stealing,

And each from this gray ruin parts

With calmer, holier feeling,

Blessing the days of yore.