LONE lingering in the old Churchyard,
gazing on these mouldering walls,
The stately pile of other days
recreative mind recalls.
Deep musing here, as day declines,
silence lulls the dinsome town,
I needs must dream of ages past,
creed and Church were overthrown.
I tread a roofless temple floor,
many a pilgrim foot hath trod ;
I stand where brave King Robert knelt
Fancy ! wave thy magic rod !
Ha ! see uprise the ponderous walls
the clustering columns high :
The roof is arching o'er my head,
between me and the sky.
And see the transept circle bright,
high above the tuneful choir,
Pours down a flood of rainbow light
king and priest, and knight and squire ;
And shivered in a thousand rays
pillar, cusp, and carving quaint
Illuming mask and dusty niche,
many a rudely-sculptured saint.
Where huge columnar shadows throw
giant length along the nave,
Are kneeling, hushed in reverent awe,
men of iron, fierce and brave ;
But helm is not on warrior's head,
hauberk on his shoulders there ;
No mailed hand makes the sacred sign,
armed heel treads the house of prayer.
hark ! the Abbot lifts his voice,
prays for Scotland and her king ;
That Jesu from His heavenly throne
look upon our sorrowing,
And pity this war-wasted land ;
Mary, Virgin Queen, mote plead
That He would will poor Scotland's weal,
shield her in her utmost need.
Now solemn music thrills my ear ;
choir chant forth the sacred strain
That echoing peals from arch to arch,
swells through all the mighty fane ;
Seems every stone to find a tongue,
joins the choral hymn of praise,
To melt the fierce and vengeful men
know not mercy's gentle ways.
And now beyond the sacred gates
hear the tramp of harnessed men,
The clank of steel, the neigh of steed ;
see a knight and goodly train ;
He bears a scrolloh ! now I know !
mount, they vanish while I gaze,
And bear the bold protest to Rome
will the monkish world amaze.
I turn my dream-bewildered eyes :
! what do I now behold ?
A roofless ruin all around,
which the night wind bloweth cold.
But yet I love these mould'ring walls :
here in early days I played,
My father's and my mother's bones
this hallowed ground are laid.