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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS

XXXVI

EMIGRANT FRENCH CLERGY

EVEN while I speak, the sacred roofs of France
Are shattered into dust; and self-exiled
From altars threatened, levelled, or defiled,
Wander the Ministers of God, as chance
Opens a way for life, or consonance
Of faith invites. More welcome to no land
The fugitives than to the British strand,
Where priest and layman with the vigilance
Of true compassion greet them. Creed and test
Vanish before the unreserved embrace
Of catholic humanity:--distrest
They came,--and, while the moral tempest roars
Throughout the Country they have left, our shores
Give to their Faith a fearless resting-place.