Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  The Blind Man of Salisbury Cathedral

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


The Blind Man of Salisbury Cathedral

By William Lisle Bowles (1762–1850)

THERE is a poor blind man, who every day,

In summer sunshine or in winter’s rain,

Duly as tolls the bell, to the high fane

Explores, with faltering footsteps, his dark way,

To kneel before his Maker, and to hear

The chanted service, pealing full and clear.

Ask why alone in the same spot he kneels

Through the long year. O, the wide world is cold,

As dark, to him! Here he no longer feels

His sad bereavement. Faith and hope uphold

His heart; he feels not he is poor and blind,

Amid the unpitying tumult of his mind.

As through the aisles the choral anthems roll,

His soul is in the choirs above the skies,

And songs far off of angel companies,

When this dim earth hath perished like a scroll.

O, happy if the rich, the vain, the proud,—

The pluméd actors in life’s motley crowd,—

Since pride is dust, and life itself a span,

Would learn one lesson from a poor blind man!