Lines composed a few miles below Tintern Abbey.
This is not a place for people
To romp about in.
Wander quietly by the Wye
Lancaut does not belong to us
But to the river.
The sheep and the crows are
At home here, and we intrude.
The heron looks and thinks and then has second thoughts,
And decides he really ought to fly,
To a rendez-vous up-river Monmouth way,
Though he really shouldn’t have promised to go.
He sighs and lazily takes off and slowly flaps
Along his flight path northwards
A foot or so above the flowing runway of the Wye.
We intrude, so go softly past
The chapel of St James,
A ruin now,
Just four walls with windows,
Though the gables still stand proudly high.
Here hymns used to ring up to the roof,
Long since fallen in,
And villagers would come by horse, or by boat
If the tides of the Wye were right.
Now silence rules; no hymns, no psalms,
No mumbled responses,
No yawns in the sermon that did go on,
There is a seat up on the hill
Above the chapel and the stile
And sitting there, you look on heaven
If you stop and rest a while.