Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  The Church at Stratford

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


The Church at Stratford

By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

  • Old Inscription on the Wall of the Church at Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Against the west wall of the nave (now in the antechapel), on the south side of the arch, was painted the martyrdom of Thomas à Becket, whilst kneeling at the altar of St. Benedict, in Canterbury cathedral; below this was the figure of an angel, probably St. Michael, supporting a long scroll, upon which were seven stanzas in Old English, being an allegory of mortality.

  • ERTHE oute of erthe ys wondurly wroght

    Erth hath gotyn uppon erth a dygnyte of noght

    Erth ypon erth hath sett all hys thowht

    How erth apon erth may be hey browght

    Erth upon erth wold be a kyng

    But how that erth gott to erth he thyngkys nothyng

    When erth byddys erth hys rentys whom bryng

    Then schall erth apon erth have a hard ptyng

    Erth apon erth wynnys castellys and towrys

    Then seth erth unto erth thys ys all owrys

    When erth apon erth hath bylde hys bowrys

    Then schall erth for erth suffur many hard schowrys

    Erth goth apon erth as man apon mowld

    Lyke as erth apon erth never goo schold

    Erth goth apon erth as glesteryng gold

    And yet schall erth unto erth rather then he wold

    Why that erth loveth erth wondur me thynke

    Or why that erth wold for erth other swett or swynke

    When erth apon erth ys broght wt.yn the brynke

    Then schall erth apon erth have a fowll stynke

    Lo erth on erth consedur thow may

    How erth comyth to erth nakyd all way

    Why schall erth apon erth goo stowte or gay

    Seth erth owt of erth schall passe yn poor aray

    I counsill erth apon erth that ys wondurly wrogt

    The whyl yt. erth ys apon erth to torne hys thowht

    And pray to god upon erth yt. all erth wroght

    That all crystyn soullys to ye. blys may be broght