Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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COMPOSED OR SUGGESTED DURING A TOUR IN THE SUMMER OF 1833

XXXIV. THE BLACK STONES OF IONA
          HERE on their knees men swore: the stones were black,
          Black in the people's minds and words, yet they
          Were at that time, as now, in colour grey.
          But what is colour, if upon the rack
          Of conscience souls are placed by deeds that lack
          Concord with oaths? What differ night and day
          Then, when before the Perjured on his way
          Hell opens, and the heavens in vengeance crack
          Above his head uplifted in vain prayer
          To Saint, or Fiend, or to the Godhead whom                  10
          He had insulted--Peasant, King, or Thane?
          Fly where the culprit may, guilt meets a doom;
          And, from invisible worlds at need laid bare,
          Come links for social order's awful chain.


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