Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS

IN SERIES, 1821-22. PART III.

XXXV. OLD ABBEYS

          MONASTIC Domes! following my downward way,
          Untouched by due regret I marked your fall!
          Now, ruin, beauty, ancient stillness, all
          Dispose to judgments temperate as we lay
          On our past selves in life's declining day:
          For as, by discipline of Time made wise,
          We learn to tolerate the infirmities
          And faults of others--gently as he may,
          So with our own the mild Instructor deals,
          Teaching us to forget them or forgive.                      10
          Perversely curious, then, for hidden ill
          Why should we break Time's charitable seals?
          Once ye were holy, ye are holy still;
          Your spirit freely let me drink, and live!


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