Gleams mildly; and the lengthening shadows dun,
Chequered with ruddy streaks from spire and roof,
Begin to weave fair twilightʼs mystic woof,
Till the dim tissue, like a gorgeous veil,
Wraps the proud city, in her beauty pale.
A minute since, and in the rosy light
Dome, casement, spire, were glowing warm and bright;
A minute since, St. Rupertʼs stately shrine,
Rich with the spoils of many a Hartzwald mine, 1
Flung back the golden glow: now, broad and vast,
The shadows from yon ancient fortress cast,
Like the dark grasp of some barbaric power,
Their leaden empire stretch oʼer roof and tower.
Though no Arcadian visions grace the land:
Wakes not a sound that floats not sweetly by,
While dayʼs last beams upon the landscape die;
Low chants the fisher where the waters pour,
And murmuring voices melt along the shore;
The plash of waves comes softly from the side
Of passing barge slow gliding oʼer the tide;
And there are sounds from city, field, and hill,
Shore, forest, flood; yet mellow all and still.
And through St. Rupertʼs massive portal wend.
Full many a shrine, bedeckt with sculpture quaint
Of steel‐clad knight and legendary saint;
Full many an altar, where the incense‐cloud
Rose with the pealing anthem, deep and loud;
And pavements worn before each marble fane
By knees devout—(ah! bent not all in vain!)
There greet the gaze; with statues, richly wrought,
And noble paintings, from Ausonia brought,—
Planned by those master minds whose memory stands
The grace, the glory, of their native lands.
As the hard granite, ʼmidst some softer stone,
Starts from the mass, unbuttressed and alone,
And proudly rears its iron strength for aye,
While crumbling crags around it melt away;
So, midst the ruins of long eras gone,
Creative Genius holds his silent throne,—
While lesser lights grow dim,—august, sublime,
Gigantic looming oʼer the gulfs of Time!