Furness Abbey and Poetry

Yesterday, we explored the Furness Peninsula including the beautiful and peaceful Furness Abbey. 

Many poets have written about the beauty of Furness Abbey including Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Aubrey Thomas de Vere and Samuel Longfellow. Of course, there are also wonderful poems by William Wordsowrth but these I have posted about previously. This post is concerned with more unusual poems and poets long forgotten.

First, Letitia Elizabeth Landon's Furness Abbey:

I WISH for the days of the olden time,
When the hours were told by the abbey chime,
When the glorious stars looked down through the midnigh dim,
Like approving saints on the choir's sweet hymn:
I think of the days we are living now,
And I sigh for those of the veil and the vow.

Next, an excerpt from Aubrey Thomas de Vere's poem To Furness Abbey:

Thy gray towers sleep on 'mid dust;
But in the resurrection of the just
Thy works, contemned to day, once more shall rise.
Guard with thy dark compeer, cloud-veiled Black Coombe,
Till then a land to nature and to grace
So dear. Thy twin in greatness, clad with gloom,
Is grander than with sunshine on his face:
Thou 'mid abjection and the irreverent doom
Art holier—O how much!—to hearts not base. 

And finally, stanzas from Samuel Longfellow's To Furness Abbey:

ON Norman cloister and on Gothic aisle   
The fading sunset lingers for a while;   
The rooks chant noisy vespers in the elms;—   
Then night’s slow-rising tide the scene o’erwhelms.   

So fade the roses and the flowers of kings,           
And crowns and palms decay with humbler things;   
All works built up by toil of mortal breath   
Tend in unbroken course to dust and death.   

Pillar and roof and pavement all are gone;   
The lamp extinguished and the prayers long done;           
But faith and awe, as stars, eternal shine;—   
The human heart is their enduring shrine.

All of these poems are beautiful and capture the peace of the Abbey as well as a sense of loss for simpler, more reverent times. But over the ruins and over the centuries which have condemned the Abbey to ruins, towers omnipresent Black Combe, the cloud-veiled, dark compeer.