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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Old St. David's At Radnor

From Ultima Thule (Poems)
What an image of peace and rest
  Is this little church among its graves!
All is so quiet; the troubled breast,
The wounded spirit, the heart oppressed,
  Here may find the repose it craves.

See, how the ivy climbs and expands
  Over this humble hermitage,
And seems to caress with its little hands
The rough, gray stones, as a child that stands
  Caressing the wrinkled cheeks of age!

You cross the threshold; and dim and small
  Is the space that serves for the Shepherd's Fold;
The narrow aisle, the bare, white wall,
The pews, and the pulpit quaint and tall,
  Whisper and say: "Alas! we are old."

Herbert's chapel at Bemerton
  Hardly more spacious is than this;
But Poet and Pastor, blent in one,
Clothed with a splendor, as of the sun,
  That lowly and holy edifice.

It is not the wall of stone without
  That makes the building small or great
But the soul's light shining round about,
And the faith that overcometh doubt,
  And the love that stronger is than hate.

Were I a pilgrim in search of peace,
  Were I a pastor of Holy Church,
More than a Bishop's diocese
Should I prize this place of rest, and release
  From farther longing and farther search.

Here would I stay, and let the world
  With its distant thunder roar and roll;
Storms do not rend the sail that is furled;
Nor like a dead leaf, tossed and whirled
  In an eddy of wind, is the anchored soul.

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