Il Santo

A poem by Henry Newbolt

Alas! alas! what impious hands are these?
They have cut down my dark mysterious trees,
Defied the brooding spell
That sealed my sacred well,
Broken my fathers' fixed and ancient bars,
And on the mouldering shade
Wherein my dead were laid
Let in the cold clear aspect of the stars.

Slumber hath held the grove for years untold:
Is there no reverence for a peace so old?
Is there no seemly awe
For bronze-engraven law,
For dust beatified and saintly name?
When they shall see the shrine
Princes have held divine,
Will they not bow before the eternal flame?

Vain! vain! the wind of heaven for ages long
Hath whispered manhood, "Let thine arm be strong!
Hew down and fling away
The growth that veils decay,

Shatter the shrine that chokes the living spring.
Scorn hatred, scorn regret,
Dig deep and deeper yet,
Leave not the quest for word of saint or king.

"Dig deeper yet! though the world brand thee now,
The faithful labour of an impious brow
May for thy race redeem
The source of that lost stream
Once given the thirst of all the earth to slake.
Nay, thou too ere the end
Thy weary knee mayst bend
And in thy trembling hands that water take."

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'Il Santo' by Henry Newbolt

comments powered by Disqus

Home | Search | About this website | Contact | Privacy Policy