On Seeing Unexpectedly a New Church, While Walking on the Sabbath in Old-Park Wood, near Sheffield FROM Shirecliffe, o’er a silent sea of trees, When evening waned o’er Wadsley’s cottages, I looked on Loxley, Rivilin, and Don, While at my side stood truth-loved Pemberton; And wondered, far beneath me, to behold A golden spire, that glowed o’er fields of gold. Out of the earth it rose, with sudden power, A bright flame, growing heavenward, like a flower Where erst nor temple stood, nor holy psalm Rose to the mountains in the day of calm. There, at the altar, plighted hearts may sigh; There, side by side, how soon their dust may lie! Then carven stones the old, old tale will tell, That saddens joy with its brief chronicle, Till time, with pinions stolen from the dove, Gently erase the epitaph of love; While rivers sing, on their unwearied way, The songs that but with earth can pass away, That brings the tempest’s accents from afar And breathes of woodbines where no woodbines are! Yet deem not that affection can expire, Though earth and skies shall melt in fervent fire; For truth hath written, on the stars above,— “Affection cannot die, if God is Love!” Whene’er I pass a grave with moss o’ergrown, Love seems to rest upon the silent stone, Above the wreck of sublunary things, Like a tired angel sleeping on his wings.
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