Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CHURCH AT POLIGNAC, by LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON

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THE CHURCH AT POLIGNAC, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Kneel down in yon chapel, but only one prayer
Last Line: For, mercy, thy cause is the cause of mankind.
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia
Subject(s): Churches; Polignac, Auguste De (1780-1847); Cathedrals

KNEEL down in yon chapel, but only one prayer
Should awaken the echoes its tall arches bear;
Pale mother, pray not for the child on the bed,
For the sake of the prisoner let matins be said;
Old man, though the shade of thy grave-stone be nigh,
Yet not for thyself raise thy voice to the sky;
Young maiden, there kneeling, with blush and with tear,
Name not the one name to thy spirit most dear.
The prayer for another, to Heaven addrest,
Comes back to the breather thrice blessing and blest.

Beside the damp marsh, rising sickly and cold,
Stand the bleak and stern walls of the dark prison hold;
There fallen and friendless, forlorn and opprest,
Are they -- once the flattered, obeyed, and carest,
From the blessings that God gives the poorest exiled,
His wife is a widow, an orphan his child;
For years there the prisoner has wearily pined,
Apart from his country, apart from his kind;
Amid millions of freemen, one last lonely slave,
He knoweth the gloom, not the peace of the grave.

I plead not their errors, my heart's in the cause,
Which bows down the sword with the strength of the laws;
But France, while within her such memories live,
With her triumphs around, can afford to forgive.
Let Freedom, while raising her glorious brow,
Shake the tears from her laurels that darken there now.
Be the chain and the bar from yon prison removed,
Give the children their parent, the wife her beloved.
By the heart of the many is pardon assigned,
For, Mercy, thy cause is the cause of mankind.

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