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

Furness Abbey

To Furness Abbey

By Aubrey Thomas de Vere (1814–1902)

GOD, with a mighty and an outstretched hand,

Stays thee from sinking, and ordains to be

His witness lifted ’twixt the Irish Sea

And that still beauteous, once faith-hallowed land.

Stand as a sign, monastic prophet, stand!

Thee, thee the speechless, God hath stablished thee

To be his Baptist, crying ceaselessly

In spiritual deserts like that Syrian sand!

Man’s little race around thee creep and crawl,

And dig, and delve, and roll their thousand wheels;

Thy work is done: henceforth sabbatical

Thou restest, while the world around thee reels;

But every scar of thine and stony rent

Cries to a proud, weak age, “Repent, repent!”

VIRTUE goes forth from thee and sanctifies

That once so peaceful shore whose peace is lost,

To-day doubt-dimmed, and inly tempest-tost,

Virtue most healing when sealed up it lies

In relics, like thy ruins. Enmities

Thou hast not. Thy gray towers sleep on mid dust;

But in the resurrection of the just

Thy works, contemned to-day, once more shall rise.

Guard with thy dark compeer, cloud-veiled Black Coombe,

Till then a land to nature and to grace

So dear. Thy twin in greatness, clad with gloom,

Is grander than with sunshine on his face:

Thou mid abjection and the irreverent doom

Art holier—O, how much!—to hearts not base.