Robert Stephen Hawker ( )

Morwenna Statio

The Stow, or the place, of St. Morwenna; 
hence, by abbreviation, Morwenstow.

MY Saxon shrine! the only ground
  Wherein this weary heart hath rest;
What years the birds of God have found
  Along thy walls their sacred nest:
The storm, the blast, the tempest shock,
  Have beat upon those walls in vain;
She stands,a daughter of the rock,
  The changeless Gods eternal fane.

Firm was their faith,the ancient bands,
  The wise of heart in wood and stone,
Who reared with stern and trusting hands
  These dark gray towers of days unknown:
They filled these aisles with many a thought,
  They bade each nook some truth reveal;
The pillared arch its legend brought,
  A doctrine came with roof and wall.

Huge, mighty, massive, hard, and strong,
  Were the choice stones they lifted then:
The vision of their hope was long,
  They knew their God, those faithful men.
They pitched no tent for change or death,
  No home to last mans shadowy day;
There! there! the everlasting breath
  Would breathe whole centuries away.

See, now, along that pillared aisle
  The graven arches, firm and fair:
They bend their shoulders to the toil,
  And lift the hollow roof in air.
A sign! beneath the ship we stand,
  The inverted vessels arching side;
Forsakenwhen the fisher-band
  Went forth to sweep a mightier tide.

Pace we the ground! our footsteps tread
  A cross,the builders holiest form;
That awful couch where once was shed
  The blood, with mans forgiveness warm.
And here, just where his mighty breast
  Throbbed the last agony away,
They bade the voice of worship rest,
  And white-robed Levites pause and pray.

Mark! the rich rose of Sharons bowers
  Curves in the patens mystic mould;
The lily, lady of the flowers,
  Her shape must yonder chalice hold.
Types of the mother and the son,
  The twain in this dim chancel stand;
The badge of Norman banners one,
  And one a crest of English land.

How all things glow with life and thought
  Whereer our faithful fathers trod!
The very ground with speech is fraught,
  The air is eloquent of God.
In vain would doubt or mockery hide
  The buried echoes of the past;
A voice of strength, a voice of pride,
  Here dwells amid the storm and blast.

Still points the tower, and pleads the bell;
  The solemn arches breathe in stone;
Window and wall have lips to tell
  The mighty faith of days unknown.
Yea, flood and breeze and battle-shock
  Shall beat upon this church in vain;
She stands,a daughter of the rock,
  The changeless Gods eternal fane.

Robert Stephen Hawker's other poems:
  1. The Ringers of Lancells Tower
  2. The Well of St. John
  3. The Cell
  4. The Scroll
  5. The Death-Race

 . Poem to print (Print)

: 1176

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