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Henry Alford (Генри Элфорд)

Inscription for the Ruin of a Village Cross

     Hathern, Leicestershire

THE SIMPLE folk once used to throng
  These mouldering steps beneath,
And every child that passed along
  Its soft petitions breathe,
                In pious days of yore.

The workingmen at dawn of day
  Were here assembled kneeling,
And to their labor bore away
  A calm of holy feeling,
                In Christian days of yore.

Till once a stalwart company
  Of men with gloomy faces,
Unlike the men ye used to see
  In such-like holy places
                In quiet days of yore,

With savage hands pulled down the sign
  Of our Redeemer’s sorrow,
And promised in more force to join,
  And break the rest to-morrow,—
                Hating the days of yore.

But Providence from then till now
  This remnant hath befriended,
And by this shaft and time-worn steps
  The memory hath defended
                Of the good days of yore.

And still, whene’er the good and great
  On common times pass nigh me,
Though no petition they repeat,
  Nor kneel in silence by me,
                As in the days of yore;	

Yet blessed thoughts upon their hearts
  From Heaven come gently stealing,
And each from this gray ruin parts
  With calmer, holier feeling,
                Blessing the days of yore.

Henry Alford's other poems:
  1. Summit of Skiddaw, July 7, 1838
  2. 1846
  3. Written at Ampton, Suffolk, January, 1838
  4. Haddon Hall, Derbyshire, July, 1836
  5. August 19, 1830

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