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And rule and compass to plan and trace

Each door and window, and terrace and wall,
And the tower that should rise to crown them all.

Ha! many a summer sunrise found

Wise John at his great and patient toil,

At his squares and circles, and legends and lines,
And many a night he burnt the oil,

Till the house with its pillared porch began
To slowly grow in the brain of that man.

Long lines of sunny southern wall,

With mullioned windows, row on row, And balustrades, and parapets,

Where the western wind should wildly blow;

And cresting all the vanes, to burn

And glisten over miles of fern.

When thirteen Junes had burnt away,

The house arose as out of a dream:

Wide and stately, and tall and fair,

With windows to catch the sunset gleam;
Fifteen fair miles of subject lands
Girdle it round where it proudly stands.

Two hundred feet of western front,

And chapel and turret, and acres of roof,
And porch, and staircase, and welcoming hall,
And gate that would keep no beggar aloof;
Three kings had died since it began,
And John had grown old and pale and wan.

One day the builder smiling sat,

His red-lined parchments slowly rolled,
His work was ended, the night had come,

He bound and numbered them, fold by fold; And sat as gravely in the sun,

As if his toil had scarce begun.

Yes, there his life's work stately stood,
With its shining acres of beaten lead,
Its glittering windows, row on row,

That centuries hence, when he was dead,
Should shine as they were shining then,
A landmark unto other men.

And there were the long white terraces,
And the great wide porch, like an open hand
Stretched out to welcome, and the tower

That rose like a fountain o'er the land;
And the great elms bosoming round the walls,
The singing-birds' green citadels.

They found him there when daybreak came,
In the selfsame posture, selfsame place,

But the plans had dropped from his thin wan hands, A frozen smile was on his face;

And when they spoke no word he said,

For John of Padua sat there — dead!

Walter Thornbury.

Lorton Vale.


HERE is a yew-tree, pride of Lorton Vale,


Which to this day stands single, in the midst
Of its own darkness, as it stood of yore:
Not loath to furnish weapons for the bands
Of Umfraville or Percy ere they marched

To Scotland's heaths; or those that crossed the sea
And drew their sounding bows at Azincour,
Perhaps at earlier Crecy, or Poictiers.
Of vast circumference and gloom profound
This solitary tree! a living thing
Produced too slowly ever to decay;
Of form and aspect too magnificent

To be destroyed. But worthier still of note
Are those fraternal four of Borrowdale,
Joined in one solemn and capacious grove;
Huge trunks! and each particular trunk a growth
Of intertwisted fibres serpentine

Up-coiling, and inveterately convolved;

Nor uninformed with fantasy, and looks
That threaten the profane; - a pillared shade,
Upon whose grassless floor of red-brown hue,
By sheddings from the pining umbrage tinged
Perennially, beneath whose sable roof
Of boughs, as if for festal purpose, decked
With unrejoicing berries, ghostly shapes

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May meet at noontide, Fear and trembling Hope,

Silence and Foresight; Death the skeleton
And Time the shadow, — there to celebrate,
As in a natural temple scattered o'er
With altars undisturbed of mossy stone,
United worship; or in mute repose
To lie, and listen to the mountain flood
Murmuring from Glaramara's inmost caves.

William Wordsworth.




OWTHER! in thy majestic pile are seen
Cathedral pomp and grace, in apt accord

With the baronial castle's sterner mien:
Union significant of God adored,

And charters won and guarded by the sword
Of ancient honor; whence that goodly state
Of polity which wise men venerate,
And will maintain, if God his help afford.
Hourly the democratic torrent swells;

For airy promises and hopes suborned

The strength of backward-looking thoughts is scorned. Fall if ye must, ye towers and pinnacles,

With what ye symbolize; authentic story

Will say ye disappeared with England's glory!

William Wordsworth.



COMETIMES in youthful years,


When in some ancient ruin I have stood,
Alone and musing, till with quiet tears

I felt my cheeks bedewed,

A melancholy thought hath made me grieve
For this our age, and humbled me in mind,
That it should pass away, and leave
No monuments behind.

Not for themselves alone

Our fathers lived; nor with a niggard hand
Raised they the fabrics of enduring stone,
Which yet adorn the land:

Their piles, memorials of the mighty dead,
Survive them still, majestic in decay;
But ours are like ourselves, I said,
The creatures of a day.

With other feelings now,

Lowther! have I beheld thy stately walls,
Thy pinnacles, and broad, embattled brow,
And hospitable halls.

The sun those wide-spread battlements shall crest,
And silent years unharming shall go by,

Till centuries in their course invest

Thy towers with sanctity.

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