A Ruin by Philip James Bailey

In a cot-studded, fruity, green deep dale,
There grows the ruin of an abbey old;
And on the hill side, cut in rock, behold
A sainted hermit’s cell; so goes the tale.
What of that ruin? There is nothing left
Save one sky-framing window arch, which climbs
Up to its top point, single stoned, bereft
Of prop or load. And this strange thing sublimes
The scene. For the fair great house, vowed to God,
Is hurled down and unhallowed; and we tread
O’er buried graves which have devoured their dead;
While over all springs up the green-life sod,
And arch, so light and lofty in its span —
So frail and yet so lasting — tis like man.

From: Bailey, Philip James, The Angel World, and Other Poems, 1850, Ticknor, Reed, and Fields: Boston, p. 98.

Date: 1850

By: Philip James Bailey (1816-1902)


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