1023.—Howden Churchdetails

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1023.—Howden Church

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The perfect Romantic Ruin, an abbey that was once a place of worship and a seat of power, and has now fallen so low that cattle graze where there was once a High Altar.

A poem written by William Wordsworth in 1837, less than ten years before this engraving was published, is called to mind:

Ye trees! whose slender roots entwine
Altars that piety neglects;
Whose infant arms enclasp the shrine
Which no devotion now respects;
If not a straggler from the herd
Here ruminate, nor shrouded bird,
Chanting her low-voiced hymn, take pride
In aught that ye would grace or hide—
How sadly is your love misplaced,
Fair Trees, your bounty run to waste!

Ye, too, wild Flowers! that no one heeds,
And ye—full often spurned as weeds—
In beauty clothed, or breathing sweetness
From fractured arch and mouldering wall—
Do but more touchingly recall
Man’s headstrong violence and Time’s fleetness,
Making the precincts ye adorn
Appear to sight still more forlorn.

(William Wordsworth, Among the Ruins of a Convent in the Apennines, from Memorials of a Tour in Italy, No. 23)

The book (Old England, I mean) also has some notes on Howden Church:

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