Netley Abbey

William Lisle Bowles

Fall'n pile! I ask not what has been thy fate;
  But when the winds, slow wafted from the main,
  Through each rent arch, like spirits that complain,
Come hollow to my ear, I meditate
On this world's passing pageant, and the lot
  Of those who once majestic in their prime
  Stood smiling at decay, till bowed by time
Or injury, their early boast forgot,
They may have fall'n like thee! Pale and forlorn,
  Their brow, besprent with thin hairs, white as snow,
They lift, still unsubdued, as they would scorn
  This short-lived scene of vanity and woe;
Whilst on their sad looks smilingly they bear
The trace of creeping age, and the pale hue of care!

The fate of Netley Abbey was to meet its end during the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VII. The Cistercian Abbey was founded in 1239 and dissolved in 1536. The Abbey buildings were given to a favourite courtier of Henry VIII for his private estate.

In the early 18th century, much of the original structure was demolished and it survives as a romantic ruin.