82. Sacrilege

{143}
THE Church shone brightly in her youthful days
          Ere the world on her smiled;
So now, an outcast, she would pour her rays
          Keen, free, and undefiled:
Yet would I not that arm of force were mine,
Which thrusts her from her awful ancient shrine.

'Twas duty bound each convert-king to rear
          His Mother from the dust,
And pious was it to enrich, nor fear
          Christ for the rest to trust;
And who shall dare make common or unclean
What once has on the Holy Altar been?

Dear brothers!—hence, while ye for ill prepare,
          Triumph is still your own;
Blest is a pilgrim Church!—yet shrink to share
          The curse of throwing down.
So will we toil in our old place to stand,
Watching, not dreading, the despoiler's hand.

Palermo
.
June 4, 1833.

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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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