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THE WHITE DOE OF RYLSTONE.
They that deny a God, destroy Man's nobility: for certainly Man is of kinn to the Beast by his Body; and if he be not of kinn to God by his Spirit, he is a base ignoble Creature. It destroys likewise Magnanimity, and the raising of humane Nature: for take an example of a Dogg, and mark what a generosity and courage he will put on, when he finds himself maintained by a Man, who to him is instead of a God, or Melior Natura. Which courage is manifestly such, as that Creature without that confidence of a better Nature than his own could never attain. So Man, when he resteth and assureth himself upon Divine protection and favour, gathereth a force and faith which human Nature in itself could not obtain." LORD BACON.
FROM Bolton's old monastic tower
Of stole and doublet, hood and scarf,
That down the steep hills force their way,
Path, or no path, what care they?
What would they there? - full fifty years That sumptuous Pile, with all its Peers, Too harshly hath been doomed to taste The bitterness of wrong and waste: Its courts are ravaged; but the tower Is standing with a voice of power, That ancient voice which wont to call To mass or some high festival; And in the shattered fabric's heart Remaineth one protected part; A Chapel, like a wild-bird's nest, Closely embowered and trimly drest; And thither young and old repair, This Sabbath-day, for praise and prayer.
Fast the churchyard fills; anon,
Who sat in the shade of the Prior's Oak!
A moment ends the fervent din,
Recites the holy liturgy,
The only voice which you can hear
Is the river murmuring near.
the dusky trees between, And down the path through the open green, Where is no living thing to be seen,
And through yon gateway, where is found,
Soft and silent as a dream,
A solitary Doe !
White she is as lily of June,
And beauteous as the silver Moon
When out of sight the clouds are driven
Or like a ship some gentle day
Lie silent in your graves, ye dead!
'Tis a work for Sabbath hours
Whether she be of forest bowers,
From the bowers of earth below;
A pledge of grace from purest heaven.
What harmonious pensive changes
Round and through this Pile of state
Now a step or two her way
And where no flower hath leave to dwell.
The presence of this wandering Doe
Fills many a damp, obscure recess
With lustre of a saintly show;
And, reappearing, she no less
Sheds on the flowers that round her blow
But say, among these holy places,
Can she be grieved for choir or shrine,
For what survives of house where God
She sees a warrior carved in stone,
As a common creature might: