Poem William Wordsworth

The White Doe of Rylstone

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  From Bolton’s old monastic tower

          The bells ring loud with gladsome power;

          The sun shines bright; the fields are gay

          With people in their best array

          Of stole and doublet, hood and scarf,

          Along the banks of crystal Wharf,

          Through the Vale retired and lowly,

          Trooping to that summons holy.

          And, up among the moorlands, see

          What sprinklings of blithe company!                         

          Of lasses and of shepherd grooms,

          That down the steep hills force their way,

          Like cattle through the budded brooms;

          Path, or no path, what care they?

          And thus in joyous mood they hie

          To Bolton’s mouldering Priory.

          What would they there?–Full fifty years

          That sumptuous Pile, with all its peers,

          Too harshly hath been doomed to taste

          The bitterness of wrong and waste:                          

          Its courts are ravaged; but the tower

          Is standing with a voice of power,

          That ancient voice which wont to call

          To mass or some high festival;

          And in the shattered fabric’s heart

          Remaineth one protected part;

          A Chapel, like a wild-bird’s nest,

          Closely embowered and trimly drest;

          And thither young and old repair,

          This Sabbath-day, for praise and prayer.                  

          Fast the churchyard fills;–anon

          Look again, and they all are gone;

          The cluster round the porch, and the folk

          Who sate in the shade of the Prior’s Oak!

          And scarcely have they disappeared

          Ere the prelusive hymn is heard:–

          With one consent the people rejoice,

          Filling the church with a lofty voice!

          They sing a service which they feel:

          For ’tis the sunrise now of zeal;                                

          Of a pure faith the vernal prime–

          In great Eliza’s golden time.

          A moment ends the fervent din,

          And all is hushed, without and within;

          For though the priest, more tranquilly,

          Recites the holy liturgy,

          The only voice which you can hear

          Is the river murmuring near.

          When soft!–the dusky trees between,

          And down the path through the open green,           

          Where is no living thing to be seen;

          And through yon gateway, where is found,

          Beneath the arch with ivy bound,

          Free entrance to the churchyard ground–

          Comes gliding in with lovely gleam,

          Comes gliding in serene and slow,

          Soft and silent as a dream,

          A solitary Doe!

          White she is as lily of June,

          And beauteous as the silver moon                          

          When out of sight the clouds are driven

          And she is left alone in heaven;

          Or like a ship some gentle day

          In sunshine sailing far away,

          A glittering ship, that hath the plain

          Of ocean for her own domain.

          Lie silent in your graves, ye dead!

Who Fancied What a Pretty Sight
Where Lies The Land To Which Yon Ship Must Go


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