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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.

Chartreuse, La Grande

The Grande Chartreuse

By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

AND now, emerging from the forest’s gloom,

I greet thee, Chartreuse, while I mourn thy doom

Whither is fled that power whose frown severe

Awed sober Reason till she crouched in fear?

That silence, once in deathlike fetters bound,

Chains that were loosened only by the sound

Of holy rites chanted in measured round?

The voice of blasphemy the fane alarms,

The cloister startles at the gleam of arms.

The thundering tube the aged angler hears,

Bent o’er the groaning flood that sweeps away his tears.

Cloud-piercing pine-trees nod their troubled heads,

Spires, rocks, and lawns a browner night o’erspreads;

Strong terror checks the female peasant’s sighs,

And start the astonished shades at female eyes.

From Bruno’s forest screams the affrighted jay,

And slow the insulted eagle wheels away.

A viewless flight of laughing demons mock

The cross by angels planted on the aerial rock.

The parting genius sighs with hollow breath

Along the mystic streams of life and death.

Swelling the outcry dull, that long resounds

Portentous through her old woods’ trackless bounds,

Vallombre, mid her falling fanes, deplores,

Forever broke, the Sabbath of her bowers.