WITHOUT, the sullen noises of the street!
    The voice of London, inarticulate,
Hoarse and blaspheming, surges in to meet
    The silent blessing of the Immaculate.

Dark is the church, and dim the worshippers,
    Hushed with bowed heads as though by some old spell,
While through the incense-laden air there stirs
    The admonition of a silver bell.

Dark is the church, save where the altar stands,
    Dressed like a bride, illustrious with light,
Where one old priest exalts with tremulous hand
    The one true solace of man's fallen plight.

Strange silence here: without, the sounding street
    Heralds the world's swift passage to the fire:
O Benediction, perfect and complete!
    When shall men cease to suffer and desire?


Dowson, Ernest. The Poems And Prose Of Ernest Dowson. Ed. Arthur Symons. London: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1905. P. 33. [Scanned and formatted by GPL.]

Last modified 4 November 2006