Let this rough fragment lend its mossy seat;
Let Contemplation hail this lone retreat:
Come, meek-eyed goddess, through the midnight gloom,
Born of the silent awe which robes the tomb!
This gothic front, this antiquated pile,
The bleak wind howling through each mazy aisle;
Its high gray towers, faint peeping through the shade,
Shall hail thy presence, consecrated maid!
Whether beneath some vaulted abbey's dome,
Where ev'ry footstep sounds in every tomb;
Where Superstition, from the marble stone,
Gives every sound, a pilgrim-spirit's groan:
Pensive thou readest by the moon's full glare
The sculptured children of Affection's tear;
Or in the church-yard lone thou sitt'st to weep
O'er some sad wreck, beneath the tufty heap--
Perchance some victim to Seduction's spell,
Who yielded, wept, and then neglected fell!
But hither come, on yon swoln arch to gaze,
And view the vivid flash eruptive blare;
Light those high walls with transitory gleam,
Illume the air, and sparkle in the stream.
Ah! look, where yonder tempest-shaken cloud,
Awful and black as the chaosian shroud,
Breaks, like the waves which lash the sandy shore,
And speaks its mission in a feeble row.
Thus Meditation hears: "Aspiring height!
Of old, the splendid mansions of the great;
Thy fate (tremendous) lours upon the blast,
And waits to write on thy remains:--'tis past!
Oft have the genii of the hoary blade
Around thy walls their hell-born demons led;
Yet hast thou triumph'd o'er each monster's car,
And braved the ills of pestilential war:
Oft hast thou seen the circling seasons roll
In fond succession round thy native pole;
Defied the hoary matron of the ring,
And seen her sicken in the lap of Spring.
But, ah! no more thy time-clad head shall rise
To dare the tempest, while it shakes the skies;
Nor one small wreck invade the fair concave,
Nor shout above its crumbling basis, Save!
When rising zephyr from thy ruin brings
A world of atoms on its fairy wings."
Din horrible! as though the rebel train
Had sprung from chaos, fought, and fall'n again,
Raves the high bolt: how yon old structure fell;
How every cranny trembled with the yell
Of frighted owls, whose secret haunts forlorn
Were from their kindred vaults and windings torn;
Of bold Antiquity's rough pencil born.
Thrice Fancy leads the dismal echo round,
And paints the spectre gliding o'er the ground.
From ev'ry turret, ev'ry vanquish'd tower,
In heaps confused the broken fragments pour;
And, as they plunge toward the pebbly grave,
Like wizard wand, draw circles in the wave.
Meand'ring stream! thy liquid jaws extend,
Anoint with Lethe now thy fallen friend.
Again the heralds of the thunder fly,
In forky squadrons, from the trembling sky!
Again the thunder its harsh menace swells,
And light-wing'd echoes hail the humbled cells!
Weep, weep, ye clouds! with heav'n-bespangled tears;
And, ah! if pity rules your sacred spheres,
Invoke the thunder to withstay its rage,
Disarm its fury, and its wrath assuage.
But now, Aurora, from the Ocean's verge,
Trims her gray lamp, to light the mournful dirge.
She comes, to light the ruinated heap:
But lights, to wake the pensive soul to weep!