Far on its rocky knoll descried
Saint Michael's chapel cuts the sky.
I climbed;—beneath me, bright and wide,
Lay the lone coast of Brittany.
Bright in the sunset, weird and still
It lay beside the Atlantic wave,
As if the wizard Merlin's will
Yet charmed it from his forest grave.
Behind me on their grassy sweep,
Bearded with lichen, scrawled and grey,
The giant stones of Carnac sleep,
In the mild evening of the May.
No priestly stern procession now
Streams through their rows of pillars old;
No victims bleed, no Druids bow;
Sheep make the furze-grown aisles their fold.
From bush to bush the cuckoo flies,
The orchis red gleams everywhere;
Gold broom with furze in blossom vies,
The blue-bells perfume all the air.
And o'er the glistening, lonely land,
Rise up, all round, the Christian spires.
The church of Carnac, by the strand,
Catches the westering sun's last fires.
And there across the watery way,
See, low above the tide at flood,
The sickle-sweep of Quiberon bay
Whose beach once ran with loyal blood!
And beyond that, the Atlantic wide!—
All round, no soul, no boat, no hail!
But, on the horizon's verge descried,
Hangs, touched with light, one snowy sail!