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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS

XXXII

RURAL CEREMONY

CLOSING the sacred Book which long has fed
Our meditations, give we to a day
Of annual joy one tributary lay;
This day, when, forth by rustic music led,
The village Children, while the sky is red
With evening lights, advance in long array
Through the still churchyard, each with garland gay,
That, carried sceptre-like, o'ertops the head
Of the proud Bearer. To the wide church-door,
Charged with these offerings which their fathers bore
For decoration in the Papal time,
The innocent procession softly moves:--
The spirit of Laud is pleased in heaven's pure clime,
And Hooker's voice the spectacle approves!

NOTE

Title: Sonnet XXXII

This is still continued in many churches in Westmoreland. It
takes place in the month of July, when the floor of the stalls is
strewn with fresh rushes; and hence it is called the "Rush-
bearing."