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The unarmed Host who by their prayers would turn
The sword from Bangor's walls, and guard the store
Of Aboriginal and Roman lore,
And Christian monuments, that now must burn
To senseless ashes. Mark! how all things swerve
From their known course, or vanish like a dream;
Another language spreads from coast to coast;
Only perchance some melancholy Stream
And some indignant Hills old names preserve,
When laws, and creeds, and people all are lost!
A BRIGHT-HAIRED company of youthful slaves,
Beautiful strangers, stand within the pale
Of a sad market, ranged for public sale,
Where Tiber's stream the immortal City laves :
ANGLI by name; and not an ANGEL waves
His wing who could seem lovelier to man's eye
Than they appear to holy Gregory;
Who, having learnt that name, salvation craves
For Them, and for their Land. The earnest Sire,
His questions urging, feels, in slender ties
Of chiming sound, commanding sympathies;
DE-IRIANS—he would save them from God's IRE;
Subjects of Saxon ÆLLA--they shall sing
Glad HALLE-lujahs to the eternal King!
FOR ever hallowed be this morning fair,
Blest be the unconscious shore on which ye tread,
And blest the silver Cross, which ye, instead
Of martial banner, in procession bear;
The Cross preceding Him who floats in air,
The pictured Saviour !-By Augustin led,
--and onward travel without dread,
Chanting in barbarous ears a tuneful prayer--
Sung for themselves, and those whom they would free!
Rich conquest waits them :—the tempestuous sea
Of Ignorance, that ran so rough and high
And heeded not the voice of clashing swords,
These good men humble by a few bare words,
And calm with fear of God's divinity.
But, to remote Northumbria’s royal Hall,
Where thoughtful Edwin, tutored in the school
Of sorrow, still maintains a heathen rule,
Who comes with functions apostolical ?
Mark him, of shoulders curved, and stature tall,
Black hair, and vivid eye, and meagre cheek,
His prominent feature like an eagle's beak;
A Man whose aspect doth at once appal
And strike with reverence. The Monarch leans
Toward the pure truths this Delegate propounds
Repeatedly his own deep mind he sounds
With careful hesitation,--then convenes
A synod of his Councillors :--give ear,
And what a pensive Sage doth utter, hear! !
“Man's life is like a Sparrow, mighty King ! “That-while at banquet with your Chiefs you sit “Housed near a blazing fire—is seen to fit “Safe from the wintry tempest. Fluttering, “ Here did it enter; there, on hasty wing, “Flies out, and passes on from cold to cold; “But whence it came we know not, nor behold “Whither it goes. Even such, that transient Thing, “The human Soul; not utterly unknown “While in the Body lodged, her warm abode; “But from what world She came, what woe or weal “On her departure waits, no tongue hath shown; “This mystery if the Stranger can reveal, * His be a welcome cordially bestowed*!"
PROMPT transformation works the novel Lore;
The Council closed, the Priest in full career
Rides forth, an armed man, and hurls a spear
To desecrate the Fane which heretofore
He served in folly. Woden falls, and Thor
the mace, in battle heaved
(So might they dream) till victory was achieved,
Drops, and the God himself is seen no more.
Temple and Altar sink, to hide their shame
Amid oblivious weeds. "O come to me,
Ye heavy laden!' such the inviting voice
fresh streams*; and thousands, who rejoice In the new Rite, the pledge of sanctity, Shall, by regenerate life, the promise claim.
NoR scorn the aid which Fancy oft doth lend
The Soul's eternal interests to promote:
Death, darkness, danger, are our natural lot;
And evil Spirits may our walk attend
For aught the wisest know or comprehend;
Then be good Spirits free to breathe a note
Of elevation ; let their odours float
Around these Converts; and their glories blend,
The midnight stars outshining, or the blaze
Of the noon-day. Nor doubt that golden cords
Of good works, mingling with the visions, raise
The Soul to purer worlds: and who the line
Shall draw, the limits of the power define,
That even imperfect faith to man affords?
How beautiful your presence,
how benign, Servants of God! who not a thought will share With the vain world; who, outwardly as bare As winter trees, yield no fallacious sign That the firm soul is clothed with fruit divine! Such Priest, when service worthy of his care Has called him forth to breathe the common air, Might seem a saintly Image from its shrine Descended :-happy are the eyes that meet The Apparition ; evil thoughts are stayed At his approach, and low-bowed necks entreat A benediction from his voice or hand; Whence grace, through which the heart can understand, And vows, that bind the will, in silence made.