BETA

On the Church of Krisuvik in Iceland.

There was nothing so sacred in the appearance of the Church, as to make us hesitate to
use the altar as our dining-table.”
Mackenzie’s Travels in Iceland, page 114.
Though gilded domes, and splendid fanes,1
And costly robes, and choral strains,2
And altars richly drest,3
And sculptur’d saints, and sparkling gems,4
And mitred heads, and diadems,5
Inspire with awe the breast ;6
The soul enlarged—devout—sincere,7
With equal piety draws near8
The holy House of God,9
That rudely rears its rustic head,10
Scarce higher than the peasant’s shed,11
By peasant only trod.12
’Tis not the pageantry of show,13
That can impart devotion’s glow,14
Nor sanctify a pray’r :15
Then why th’ Icelandic Church disdain,16
Or why its sacred walls profane,17
As though God dwelt not there ?18
The contrite heart—the pious mind19
The Christian—to that spot confin’d,20
Before its altar kneels !21
There breathes his hopes—there plights his
vows
22
And there, with low submission bows,23
And to his God appeals.24
In realms that touch the northern pole,25
Where streams of burning lava roll26
Their desolating course ;27
Sulphureous mountains raging boil,28
Blasting th’ already sterile soil,29
With wild volcanic force ;30
Where cold, and snow, and front conspire,31
With livid subterranean fire,32
To curse the barren lands,33
Where deep morasses faithless smile34
In transient verdure to beguile,35
This humble Fabric stands.36
Oh! scorn it not because ’ tis poor,37
Nor turn thee from its sacred door,38
With contumelious pride ;39
But entering in—that Power adore !40
Who gave thee, on a milder shore,41
In safety to reside,42
Where Zephyr breathes in temper’d gales43
Thro’ wood-crown’d hills, and gentle vales,44
And gentle rivers flow ;45
And herbs, and fruits, and fragrant flowers,46
And flocks, and herds, and shady bowers,47
Their varied gifts bestow.48
Let no presumptuous thoughts arise,49
That thou art bearer in his eyes,50
Than poor Icelandic swain ;51
Who bravely meets the northern wind,52
With brow serene—and soul resign’d53
To penury and pain.54
Where much is given—more is requir’d ;55
Where little—less is still desir’d ;56
Enjoy thy happier lot57
With trembling awe, and chasten’d fear ;58
Krisuvik’s Church to God is dear,59
And will not be forgot.60