Meditations in Great Bealing Churchyard

Bernard Barton

Bear witness, many a loved and lovely scene
Which I no more may visit, are ye not
Thus still my own? Thy groves of shady green,
Sweet Gosfield! or thou, wild, romantic spot!
Where by gray craggy cliff, and lonely grot,
The shallow Dove rolls o'er his rocky bed:
You still remain as fresh and unforgot
As if but yesterday mine eyes had fed
Upon your charms; and yet months, years, since then have sped

Their silent course. And thus it ought to be,
Should I sojourn far hence in distant years,
Thou lovely dwelling of the dead! with thee:
For there is much about thee that endears
Thy peaceful landscape; much the heart reveres,
Much that it loves, and all it could desire
In meditation's haunt, when hopes and fears
Have been too busy, and we would retire
Even from ourselves awhile, yet of ourselves inquire.

Then art thou such a spot as man might choose
For still communion: all around is sweet
And calm and soothing; when the light breeze wooes
The lofty limes that shadow thy retreat,
Whose interlacing branches, as they meet,
O'ertop and almost hide the edifice
They beautify; no sound, except the bleat
Of innocent lambs, or notes which speak the bliss
Of happy birds unseen. What could a hermit miss?

Bernad Barton, known as the Quaker Poet, spent most of his life in Woodbridge in Suffolk, near Great Bealings.