A Cathedral Façade at Midnight

Along the sculptures of the western wall

I watched the moonlight creeping:

It moved as if it hardly moved at all,

Inch by inch thinly peeping

Round on the pious figures of freestone, brought

And poised there when the Universe was wrought

To serve its centre, Earth, in mankind's thought.

The lunar look skimmed scantly toe, breast, arm,

Then edged on slowly, slightly,

To shoulder, hand, face; till each austere form

Was blanched its whole length brightly

Of prophet, king, queen, cardinal in state,

That dead men's tools had striven to simulate;

And the stiff images stood irradiate.

A frail moan from the martyred saints there set

Mid others of the erection

Against the breeze, seemed sighings of regret

At the ancient faith's rejection

Under the sure, unhasting, steady stress

Of Reason's movement, making meaningless

The coded creeds of old-time godliness.

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