Desolations Virginia Churches. Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire;
come and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.
HAST been where the full-blossomed bay-tree is blowing,
With odours like Eden's around?
Hast seen where the broad-leaved palmetto is growing?
And wild vines are fringing the ground?
Here sat in the shade of catalpas, at noon,
To eat the cool gourds of their clime;
Or slept where magnolias were screening the moon,
And the mocking-bird sung his sweet rhyme?
And didst mark, in thy journey, at dew-dropping eve,
Some ruin peer high o'er thy way,
With rooks wheeling round it, and ivy to weave
A mantle for turrets so gray?
Did ye ask if some lord of the cavalier kind
Live there, when the country was young?
And burned not the blood of a Christian to find
How there the old prayer-bell had rung?
And did ye not glow, when they told ye--the LORD
Had dwelt in that thistle-grown pile;
And that bones of old Christians were under its sward,
That once had knelt down in its aisle?
And had ye no tear-drops your blushes to steep
When ye thought--o'er your country so broad,
The bard seeks in vain for a mouldering heap
Save only these churches of GOD!
Oh ye that shall pass by those ruins agen,
Go kneel in their alleys and pray,
And not till their aches have echoed amen
Rise up, and fare on, in your way.
Pray GOD that those ailes may be crowded once more,
Those altars surrounded and spread,
While anthems and prayers are upsent as of yore,
As they take of the Chalice and Bread.
Ay, pray on thy knees, that each old rural fane
They have left to the bat and the mole,
May sound with the loud-pealing orgain again,
And the full-swelling voice of the soul.
Peradventure, when next thou shalt journey thereby,
Even-bells shall ring out on the air,
And the dim-lighted windows reveal to thine eye
The snowy-robed pastor at prayer.