Stanzas Written on Brent-Tor Church
John Allen Walker
July 7, 1837
It stands alone – that olden fane,
High raised to meet the moorland storm,
And dark above the lonely plain,
Uprears its venerable form.
Where erst the beacon-fire, with blaze
Of lurid red, dispelled the night,
Its rude walls meet the wanderer’s gaze,
It towers detain the stranger’s sight.
As dim tradition tells the tale,
In days eld, – forgotten now,
A mariner, amid the gale,
Plighted to heaven his solemn vow:
And grateful for his mercies past,
And for deliverance in that hour,
Reared on yon tor, of granite vast,
That lowly pile, with darksome tower.
And there the wintry blast it braves,
The pelting rain, the drifting snows;
And when the thunder tempest raves,
Scathless its humble from still shews;
While ‘neath it roof shines forth a light
That makes all lights of Nature dim,
The lamp of God set on a height,
To guide each wanderer home to him.
O many a tower of haughty pride
Has since by war been overthrown;
And many a hall left nought beside
Some broken shaft, or mossy stone:
The wise, the noble, and the brave,
Have, with their mansions, passed away,
While here, beside the peasant’s grave,
Old fane, – thy walls resist decay.
‘Tis thus, O Lord, above the waste
Of sin and death, they temple stand, –
High amid stormy tempest placed,
That pile unbuilt by human hands.
And long and loud has been the strife
Of Satan, and the sons of guile
To rend that holy place of life,
To lay in dust that sacred pile.
But still alone, – in simple might,
Undecked by outward pomp of art,
It glads the Christian’s aching sight,
It cheers the Christian’s aching heart.
Nor time , – nor chance, – nor human powers,
Nor fiends of darkness, shall prevail,
To smite that heavenward beacon-tower,
Which guides the wander through the gale.
For the history and legends of Brentor Church – click HERE