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"THE HILL OF SLEEP"

 
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"THE HILL OF SLEEP" (St. Chad's Saddleworth Church)

HERE Morn, her earliest anthem sings, above the still cold day, And evening bows her head and kneels, upon the graves to pray. In this high pulpit of the hills, Like some old preacher dear, I stand among the skies and call, the worn and weary here. Within my walls thy fathers said, their prayers in days gone by, And now forever at my feet, dust of the hill they lie;

And still it it thy fathers faith, that binds me stone to stone, And through thy heart, exalted sends, it's ancient trumpet tone. They reared me here, those kindly folks, in far off Georgian days, That I might be to all the dales, a simple house of praise; No Saints in sculpture deck my walls, no tracery round me weaves, No lofty gargoyles, dragon mouthed, look outward from my eaves.

They reared me thus that I might be, simple and plain as they, A type of Christ, and all that is sincere, without display; They brought me here, those Hamlet folks, their homely faith and trust, That lives with me and hallows still, their long forgotten dust. In my great chamber of the dead, all those who enter - stay, The angel Peace, stands by the door, and shuts them in for aye;

Forever here, comes quiet Death. A shepherd grey and old, And drives his flocks within my gates, into their last, lone fold. Here sleep together, as they lived, the old folks of the hill, The homely neighbours of the lane, in death, are neighbours still; Here friends, long parted, meet again. With neither word or sign; No earthly greeting e'er can cross, that dark dividing line.

And they, who round one hearth grow up. In life to wander wide, Like children, all come back at last, to slumber side by side; And in the starry calm of night, like wind among the grass, I hear across their lowly graves, the feet of angel pass. And where can earth to earth return, In fairer field of sleep; Than where this gateway of the skies, Looks out o'er vale and steep.

Ammon Wrigley; 1861-1946
 
     

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