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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS

III

TREPIDATION OF THE DRUIDS

SCREAMS round the Arch-druid's brow the seamew--white
As Menai's foam; and toward the mystic ring
Where Augurs stand, the Future questioning,
Slowly the cormorant aims her heavy flight,
Portending ruin to each baleful rite,
That, in the lapse of ages, hath crept o'er
Diluvian truths, and patriarchal lore.
Haughty the Bard: can these meek doctrines blight
His transports? wither his heroic strains?
But all shall be fulfilled;--the Julian spear
A way first opened; and, with Roman chains,
The tidings come of Jesus crucified;
They come--they spread--the weak, the suffering, hear;
Receive the faith, and in the hope abide.

NOTE

1 This water-fowl was, among the Druids, an emblem of those
traditions connected with the Deluge that made an important part
of their mysteries. The Cormorant was a bird of bad omen.