The Country Church.

The blue of the forget-me-not1
Is blossoming in the sky,2
The gentian-flower’s most inner heart3
Hath not so deep a dye ;4
’Tis purest sapphire liquefied,5
That glows in glory and in pride.6
The young leaves on the elder rods7
Shine with a thin soft gold ;8
The cock, the farmyard Sultan,9
Struts in the sunshine bold,10
Transparent crimson all his crest,11
Red brazen plumes upon his breast.12
A Sabbath stillness fills the air :13
The very larks aloft,14
Scaling the white rose-puffs of cloud,15
Are singing hushed and soft ;16
With pious meditation, feed17
The tranquil cows in the green mead.18
Patient and blind, with Samson strength,19
The village church doth stand,20
The hearse-plume yew its only kith21
In all this English land,22
The warder for long centuries23
Of these poor country crofts and leas.24
The rainbow glass has gone to dust,25
The dial’s lightning-rent,26
The weather-cock upon the roof27
Is crazed and tempest-bent ;28
The weather-beaten tower stands there,29
Rapt in its long unceasing prayer.30
A curious latticing of shade31
Under the windows falls32
A flickering of the yew-tree’s gloom33
Wavering on mouldy walls.34
You hear the black-birds in the calm,35
Between the pauses of the psalm.36
The sunshine on the battered tombs37
Sheds benedictions—smiles,38
That passing, bless the children there39
Sitting along the aisles ;40
While swallows underneath the eaves41
Chatter about the coming leaves.42
The vicar for a moment stops—43
The thrushes in the laurels44
Break in upon the half-read hymn45
With snatches of their carols ;46
The sparrow on the window sill47
Chirps with much love, but little skill.48
On Sundays, how brave faces crowd49
As the old bell tolls in !50
Glossy their hair, happy their eyes,51
Rich crimson brown their skin52
Pulling their forelocks down, they go,53
What time the organ gins to blow.54