Letitia Elizabeth Landon (L. E. L.) in Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1835/Durham Cathedral

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1835-39-Durham Cathedral.png


Artist: T. Allom - Engraved by: J. W. Lowry


Those dark and silent aisles are fill'd with night,
There breathes no murmur, and there shines no light;
The graves beneath the pavement yield their gloom,
'Till the cathedral seems one mighty tomb.
The Cross invisible—the words unseen
That tell where Faith and Hope in death have been.
But day is breaking, and a rosy smile
Colours the depths of each sepulchral aisle.
The orient windows kindle with the morn,
And 'mid the darkness are their rainbows born;
Each ray that brightens, and each hue that falls,
Attest some sacred sign upon the walls;—
Some sculptured saints' pale head—some graven line
Of promise, precept, or belief divine:
Then sounds arise, the echoes bear along
Through the resounding aisles the choral song.
The billowy music of the organ sweeps,
Like the vast anthem of uplifted deeps;
The bells ring forth—the long dark night is done,
The sunshine of the Sabbath is begun.

    What is that temple but a type sublime!
Such was the moral night of ancient time;
Cold and obscure, in vain the king and sage
Gave law and learning to the darkened age.
There was no present faith, no future hope,
Earth bounded then the earth-drawn horoscope;
Till to the east there came the promised star—
Till rose the Sun of Righteousness afar—
Till, on a world redeem'd, the Saviour shone,
Earth for his footstool—Heaven for his throne.