by Henry Alford
On thy green marge, thou vale of Avalon,
Not for that thou art crowned with ancient towers
And shafts and clustered pillars many an one,
Love I to dream away the sunny hours;
Not for that here in charmed slumber lie
The holy reliques of that British king
Who was the flower of knightly chivalry,
Do I stand blest past power of uttering;—
But for that on thy cowslip-sprinkled sod
Alit of old the olive-bearing bird,
Meek messenger of purchased peace with God;
And the first hymns that Britain ever heard
Arose, the low preluding melodies
To the sweetest anthem that hath reached the skies.
Alford was a prodigious polymath, talented in drawing, in music, and in writing, whose most famous works were his hymns and his eight-volume New Testament in Greek, which rigorously collated all the manuscript readings available to Alford.