Monday, August 26, 2019

Alit of Old the Olive-Bearing Bird

Glastonbury
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.

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