Henry Alford

for the ruin of a village cross, Hathern, LEICESTERSHIRE.

The simple folk once used to throng
These mouldering steps beneath,
And every child that passed along
Its soft petitions breathe,
In pious days of yore.

The working-men at dawn of clay
Were here assembled kneeling,
And to their labour bore away
A calm of holy feeling
In Christian days of yore.

Till once a stalwart company
Of men with gloomy faces,
Unlike the men ye used to see
In such-like holy places
In quiet days of yore.

With savage hands pulled down the sign
Of our Redeemer's sorrow,
And promised in more force to join,
And break the rest to-morrow,—
Hating the days of yore.

But Providence from then till now
This remnant hath befriended,
And by this shaft and time-worn steps
The memory hath defended
Of the good days of yore.

And still, whene'er the good and great
On common times pass nigh me,
Though no petition they repeat,
Nor kneel in silence by me,
As in the days of yore;

Yet blessed thoughts upon their hearts
From Heaven come gently stealing,
And each from his gray ruin parts
With calmer, holier feeling,
Blessing the days of yore.