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

Roch Abbey

Roch Abbey

By Ebenezer Elliott (1781–1849)

PALE ruin! no,—they come no more, the days

When thought was like a bee within a rose,

Happier and busier than the beam that plays

On this thy stream. The stream sings, as it flows,

A song of valleys, where the hawthorn blows;

And wanderings through a world of flowery ways,

Even as of old; but never will it bring

Back to my heart my guileless love of praise,—

The blossomy hours of life’s all-beauteous spring,

When joy and hope were ever on the wing,

Chasing the redstart for its flamy glare,

The corn-craik for its secret. Who can wring

A healing balsam from the dregs of care,

And turn to auburn curls the soul’s gray hair?

YET, Abbey! pleased, I greet thee once again;

Shake hands, old friend, for I in soul am old.

But storms assault thy golden front in vain;

Unchanged thou seemest, though times are changed and cold;

While to thy side I bring a man of pain,

With youthful cheeks in furrows deep and wide,

Ploughed up by Fortune’s volleyed hail and rain;

To truth a martyr, hated and belied;

Of freedom’s cause a champion true and tried.

O, take him to thy heart! for Pemberton

Loves thee and thine, because your might hath died,—

Because thy friends are dead, thy glories gone,—

Because, like him, thy battered walls abide

A thousand wrongs, and smile at power and pride.

O, BID him welcome then! and let his eyes

Look on thy beauty, until blissful tears

Flood the deep channels, worn by agonies,

Which leave a wreck more sad than that of years.

Yes; let him see the evening-purpled skies

Above thy glowing lake bend down to thee;

And the love-listening vesper-star arise,

Slowly, o’er silent earth’s tranquillity;

And all thy ruins weeping silently:

Then, be his weakness pitied and forgiven,

If, when the moon illumes her deep blue sea,

His soul could wish to dream of thee in heaven,

And, with a friend his bosomed mate to be,

Wander through endless years by silvered arch and tree.