The church flings forth a battled shade
Over the moon-blanched sward:
The church; my gift; whereto I paid
My all in hand and hoard;
Lavished my gains
With stintless pains
To glorify the Lord.
I squared the broad foundations in
Of ashlared masonry;
I moulded mullions thick and thin,
Hewed fillet and ogee;
Each sculptured head
With nimb and canopy.
I called in many a craftsmaster
To fix emblazoned glass,
To figure Cross and Sepulchure
On dossal, boss, and brass.
My gold all spent,
My jewels went
To gem the cups of Mass.
I borrowed deep to carve the screen
And raise the ivoried Rood;
I parted with my small demesne
To make my owings good.
Until debt-free I stood.
So closed the task. "Deathless the Creed
Here substanced!" said my soul:
"I heard me bidden to this deed,
And straight obeyed the call.
Illume this fane,
That not in vain
I build it, Lord of all!"
But, as it chanced me, then and there
Did dire misfortunes burst;
My home went waste for lack of care,
My sons rebelled and curst;
Till I confessed
That aims the best
Were looking like the worst.
Enkindled by my votive work
No burnng faith I find;
The deeper thinkers sneer and smirk,
And give my toil no mind;
From nod and wink
I read they think
That I am fool and blind.
My gift to God seems futile, quite;
The world moves as erstwhile;
And powerful Wrong on feeble Right
Tramples in olden style.
My faith burns down,
I see no crown;
But Cares, and Griefs, and Guile.
So now, the remedy? Yea, this:
I gently swing the door
Here, of my fane--no soul to wis--
And cross the patterned floor
To the rood-screen
That stands between
The nave and inner chore.
The rich red windows dim the moon,
But little light need I;
I mount the prie-dieu, lately hewn
From woods of rarest dye;
Then from below
My garment, so,
I draw this cord, and tie
One end thereof around the beam
Midway 'twixt Cross and truss:
I noose the nethermost extreme,
And in ten seconds thus
I journey hence--
To that land whence
No rumour reaches us.
Well: Here at morn they'll light on one
Dangling in mockery
Of what he spent his substance on
Blindly and uselessly!...
"He might," they'll say,
"Have built, some way,
A cheaper gallows-tree!"
Thomas Hardy's Other Poems
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Comments about this poem (The Church-Builder by Thomas Hardy )
Still I Rise
The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Edgar Allan Poe
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
A Dream Within A Dream
Edgar Allan Poe
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
(16 April 1918 – 27 February 2002)
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- The Highwayman, Alfred Noyes
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost