‘Newark Abbey’ by Thomas Love Peacock

Newark Abbey

 

August, 1842, with a reminiscence of August 1807

 

“I gaze where August’s sunbeam falls

Along these gray and lonely walls,

Till in its light absorbed appears

The lapse of five-and-thirty years.

If change there be, I trace it not

In all this consecrated spot:

No new imprint of Ruin’s march

On roofless wall and frameless arch:

The woods, the hills the fields, the stream

Are basking in the selfsame beam:

The fall, that turns the unseen mill,

As then it murmured, murmurs still.

It seems as if in one were cast

The present and the imaged past;

Spanning, as with a bridge sublime,

That fearful lapse of human time;

That gulf, unfathomably spread

Between the living and the dead.

For all too well my spirit feels

The only change this scene reveals.

The sunbeams play, the breezes stir,

Unseen, unfelt, unheard by her,

Who, on that long-past August day,

Beheld with me these ruins gray.

Whatever span the fates allow,

Ere I shall be as she is now,

Still, in my bosom’s inmost cell,

Shall that deep-treasured memory dwell;

That, more than language can express,

Pure miracle of loveliness,

Whose voice so sweet, whose eyes so bright,

Were my soul’s music, and its light,

In those blest days when life was new

And hope was false, but love was true.”

 

Thomas Love Peacock 1785-1866

This is the latest Mid-Month poem from the Headley Poetry Group

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