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Anna Jane Vardill

On a New-made Grave near Bolton Priory *

Sweet be thy rest! near holy shrine
 A purer relic never lay:
A grave of blessedness is thine,
 More rich than piles of sculptur’d clay.

For softly on these peaceful knolls
 The feet of happy wanderers tread;
While Wharf his silver chariot rolls
 In music to his ample bed.

And none are here but those who come
 In gentle indolence to roam,
Or feed in Bolton’s holy gloom
 Sweet memories of a distant home.

Sweet be thy rest!—the toils and woes
 Of man, have left this magic bound,
Since Beauty’s awful Genius chose,
 And breathed upon the sacred ground.

Those cliffs where purple shadows creep,
 The stream scarce gleaming thro’ the dell,
These giant groves that guard its sleep,
 The present power of Beauty tell.

The crosier’s place, the altar-stone,
 Now echo gentle wisdom’s speech;
And those dim cloisters, mute and lone,
 Their meek and holy moral teach.

The shrine, the mitred Abbot’s niche,
 Where once unheeded incense spread,
Now with the woodbine’s wreath is rich,
 And sweets from vagrant roses shed.

Chang’d to a bounteous Baron’s hall,
 His gateway greets the wand’ring guest,
And only on its arras’d wall
 The frowning warrior lifts his crest.

Where by a lonely taper’s light
 The cowl’d and captive bigot knelt,
Now summer-suns beam cheerly bright,
 And evening’s softest shadows melt.

Where once the yelling torrent’s jaws
 Death to the youthful hunter gave,
Scarce frolic Beauty feigns a pause,
 Then trusts her light foot to the wave.

Emblem of Passion’s changeful tide!
 The flood that wreck’d the heedless Boy,
In after-years is taught to glide
 Thro’ shelt’ring bow’rs of social joy.

For such a tomb of sweets and flow’rs,
 By social gladness sacred made,
Midst warbling streams and golden bow’rs,
 The priest of Persia’s Eden pray’d.

But far from thee shall be the torch
 Of frantic mirth and impious rite;
A Christian Hafez guards the porch,
 And decks the Garden of Delight.

And only kindred hearts can bear
 The smiling peace that slumbers here;
None but the pure in spirit dare
 Gaze on a scene to heaven so near.


  1. The burial-place of this lovely ruin is still used, though uninclosed; and a resident minister officiates in the chapel. Bolton Hall seems to have been the gateway of the Priory. 

The European Magazine, Vol. 76, August 1819, p. 165