The Manse.

The Manse, with thirteen brick-red gables,1
Quaintly hooded with sandstone dark,2
With ivied stacks of crumbling chimneys,3
Stands on the skirts of St. Cyril’s park :4
The diamond casements are green and shattered,5
The mullions mellow and grey with rime,6
And even the vine on the porch has rotted7
In the frosts and rains of the forgotten time.8
All round the silent, pathless gardens9
The red fruits drop in the summer hours ;10
And the wind blown out of the roofless arbours11
Is faint with the breath of the levelled flowers.12
High on the terrace, woodbine muffled13
With blossoms the Greek urns overflow ;14
And the swallows’ nest in the shattered statues15
That bend by the fountains, far below.16
Stained and broken, the dusky arras17
Like twilight hangs in the voiceless rooms ;18
And the misty cirques of the fractured skylights19
Teem with imperfect lights and glooms.20
All day, the sunlight, in dusty splendour,21
Inward slants on the oaken floors ;22
All night, the moon, with a mournful glory,23
Floats through the echoing corridors.24
Many a time, in the precious seasons,25
Hidden behind the veils of fate,26
A young wife smiled from the diamond lattice,27
And children laughed at the jasmined gate :28
Tender affections, fond endearments,29
Brightened the life of the happy throng ;30
The day was buried with prayers and laughter,31
The nights were epics of peaceful song.32
No more : the richly-blossomed trailer33
Garlands the round of the channelled eaves ;34
The dial glows in the crimson brier,35
The linnet sings in the privet leaves :36
The white rose blows in the tangled hedges,37
The laurels gleam by the garden door ;38
But they, the gracious and gentle-hearted,39
Walk in that ancient Manse no more.40
Peace unto thee ! whilst roof and gable41
Mist-like rise in the owlet dusk,42
And the airs of the mournful poplar alleys43
Are freighted with frankincense and musk,44
Peace unto thee ! the bloom shall perish,45
And Winter wither the orchard tree ;46
Whilst They, in the light of a fairer Eden,47
Shall breathe the air of Eternity.48