Landon in The Literary Gazette 1825/Holyrood

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Literary Gazette, 26th March, 1825, Page 205

This poem is included in an article about The Diorama in Regent’s Park, which
Letitia Landon visited and was thus inspired by the new display there, which
was of ‘The Ruins of Holyrood Chapel, a moonlight scene’, by Louis
Daguerre.


HOLYROOD.

The moonlight fell like pity o'er the walls
And broken arches, which the conqueror, Time
Had rode unto destruction; the grey moss,
A silver cloak, hung lightly o'er the ruins;
And nothing came upon the soul but soft,
Sad images. And this was once a palace,
Where the rich viol answered to the lute,
And maidens flung the flowers from their hair
Till the halls swam with perfume: here the dance
Kept time with light harps, and yet lighter feet;
And here the beautiful Mary kept her court,
Where sighs and smiles made her regality,
And dreamed not of the long and many years
When the heart was to waste itself away
In hope, whose anxiousness was as a curse:
Here, royal in her beauty and her power,
The prison and the scaffold, could they be
But things whose very name was not for her!
And this, now fallen sanctuary, how oft
Have hymns and incense made it holiness;
How oft, perhaps, at the low midnight hour,
lts once fair mistress may have stolen to pour
At its pure altar, thoughts which have no vent,
But deep and silent prayer; when the heart finds

That it may not suffice unto itself,
But seeks communion with that other state,
Whose mystery to it is as a shroud
In which it may conceal its strife of thought,
And find repose.......
....But it is utterly changed:
No incense rises, save some chance wild-flower
Breathes grateful to the air; no hymn is heard,
No sound, but the bat's melancholy wings;
And all is desolate, and solitude.
And thus it is with links of destiny:
Clay fastens on with gold—and none may tell
What the chain's next unravelling will be
Alas, the mockeries in which fate delights!
Alas, for time!—still more, alas, for change!—L. E. L.