At Tynemouth Priory after a Tempestuous Voyage

William Lisle Bowles

As slow I climb the cliff's ascending side,
  Much musing on the track of terror past,
  When o'er the dark wave rode the howling blast,
Pleased I look back, and view the tranquil tide
That laves the pebbled shore: and now the beam
  Of evening smiles on the gray battlement,
  And yon forsaken tower that time has rent:-
The lifted oar far off with transient gleam
Is touched, and hushed is all the billowy deep!
  Soothed by the scene, thus on tired Nature's breast
  A stillness slowly steals, and kindred rest;
While sea-sounds lull her, as she sinks to sleep,
Like melodies that mourn upon the lyre,
Waked by the breeze, and, as they mourn, expire!

Author's own note: The remains of this monastery are situated on a lofty point, on the north side of the entrance into the river Tyne, about a mile and a half below North Shields. The rock on which the monastery stood rendered it visible at sea a long way off, in every direction, whence it presented itself as if exhorting the seamen in danger to make their vows, and promise masses and presents to the Virgin Mary and St Oswin for their deliverance.

The site of the priory may have been occupied in Roman times, and the religious community was probably founded in the 7th Century. It was destroyed by Danish raiders in the 875 AD. The site was subsequently fortified by the Saxons and it was the fortress of Tostig, brother and enemy of King Harold Godwinesson.