OFT have I seen, ere Time had ploughed my cheek, Matrons and Sires--who, punctual to the call Of their loved Church, on fast or festival Through the long year the house of Prayer would seek: By Christmas snows, by visitation bleak Of Easter winds, unscared, from hut or hall They came to lowly bench or sculptured stall, But with one fervour of devotion meek. I see the places where they once were known, And ask, surrounded even by kneeling crowds, 10 Is ancient Piety for ever flown? Alas! even then they seemed like fleecy clouds That, struggling through the western sky, have won Their pensive light from a departed sun! 1827.