Poems (Coates 1916)/Volume II/Rheims
AT THE RUINED CATHEDRAL
COVER your face, Humanity, and weep,
Considering your sorrow and your shame
Where things are writ to keep the eyes from sleep,—
Where sacrilege and horror records keep
To blemish your fair name!
Hate here betrayed itself, too blind to see,
Striking with venom at its own heart's core—
Hate, that destroys with dull barbarity
What Time, though long it toil and patiently,
May not again—ah, not again restore!
The generations yet unborn shall feel
This wrong to Beauty, and lament her loss:
Here royal kings, unhappy ghosts, shall steal
Through ruins where no carillon shall peal,
Nor altar gleam, nor Christ bend from the cross.
And evermore, haunting this woeful shade,
Clothed in white armor a loved wraith shall come;
And here, where she a King and Nation made,
Shall talk again with angels, unafraid,
Although her sweet, accusing lips be dumb.