Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Lament over the Ruins of the Abbey of Timoleague (Author: Seághan Ó Coileáin)


  1. 1] Lone and weary as I wander'd
    2] by the bleak shore of the sea,
    3] Meditating and reflecting
    4] on the world's hard destiny,
  2. 5] Forth the moon and stars 'gan glimmer,
    6] in the quiet tide beneath,
    7] For on slumbering spring and blossom
    8] breathed not out of heaven a breath.
  3. 9] On I went in sad dejection,
    10] careless where my footsteps bore,
    11] Till a ruined church before me
    12] opened wide its ancient door, —
  4. 13] Till I stood before the portals,
    14] where of old were wont to be,
    15] For the blind, the halt, and leper,
    16] alms and hospitality.
  5. 17] Still the ancient seat was standing,
    18] built against the buttress grey,
    19] Where the clergy used to welcome
    20] weary trav'llers on their way;

  6. p.105

  7. 21] There I sat me down in sadness,
    22] neath my cheek I placed my hand,
    23] Till the tears fell hot and briny
    24] down upon the grassy land.
  8. 25] There, I said in woful sorrow,
    26] weeping bitterly the while,
    27] Was a time when joy and gladness
    28] reigned within this ruined pile; —
  9. 29] Was a time when bells were tinkling,
    30] clergy preaching peace abroad,
    31] Psalms a-singing, music ringing
    32] praises to the mighty God.
  10. 33] Empty aisle, deserted chancel,
    34] tower tottering to your fall,
    35] Many a storm since then has beaten
    36] on the grey head of your wall!
  11. 37] Many a bitter storm and tempest
    38] has your roof-tree turned away,
    39] Since you first were formed a temple
    40] to the Lord of night and day.

  12. p.106

  13. 41] Holy house of ivied gables,
    42] that were once the country's boast,
    43] Houseless now in weary wandering
    44] are you scattered, saintly host;
  14. 45] Lone you are to-day, and dismal,
    46] — joyful psalms no more are heard,
    47] Where, within your choir, her vesper
    48] screeches the cat-headed bird.
  15. 49] Ivy from your eaves is growing,
    50] nettles round your green hearth-stone,
    51] Foxes howl, where, in your corners,
    52] dropping waters make their moan.
  16. 53] Where the lark to early matins
    54] used your clergy forth to call,
    55] There, alas! no tongue is stirring,
    56] save the daw's upon the wall.
  17. 57] Refectory cold and empty,
    58] dormitory bleak and bare,
    59] Where are now your pious uses,
    60] simple bed and frugal fare?
  18. 61] Gone your abbot, rule and order,
    62] broken down your altar stones;
    63] Nought see I beneath your shelter,
    64] save a heap of clayey bones.

  19. p.107

  20. 65] O! the hardship, O! the hatred,
    66] tyranny, and cruel war,
    67] Persecution and oppression,
    68] that have left you as you are!
  21. 69] I myself once also prosper'd; —
    70] mine is, too, an alter'd plight;
    71] Trouble, care, and age have left me
    72] good for nought but grief to-night.
  22. 73] Gone my motion and my vigour —
    74] gone the use of eye and ear,
    75] At my feet lie friends and children,
    76] powerless and corrupting here;
  23. 77] Woe is written on my visage,
    78] in a nut my heart could lie —
    79] Death's deliverance were welcome —
    80] Father, let the old man die.
  24. Sir Samuel Ferguson