P. J. Bailey (1816-1902)

A Ruin

In a cot-studded, fruity, green deep dale,
There grows the ruin of an abbey old;
And on the hillside, 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
Over buried graves which have devoured their dead;
While over all springs up the green-lifed sod,
And arch, so light and ]ofty in its span--
So frail, and yet so lasting--'tis like man.