To Christopher Whall
Imageries of dream reveal a gracious age:
Black armour, falling lace, and altar lights at morn.
The courtesy of Saints, their gentleness and scorn,
Lights on an earth more fair, than shone from Plato’s page:
The courtesy of knights, fair calm and sacred rage:
The courtesy of love, sorrow for love’s sake borne.
Vanished, those high conceits! Desolate and forlorn,
We hunger against hope for that lost heritage.
Gone now, the carven work! Ruined, the golden shrine!
No more the glorious organs pour their voice divine;
No more rich frankincense drifts through the Holy Place:
Now from the broken tower, what solemn bell still tolls,
Mourning what piteous death? Answer, O saddened souls!
Who mourn the death of beauty and the death of grace.