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Excursion to Stone Henge and Salisbury

One of the highlights of my semester was the IFSA sponsored excursion to Stone Henge and Salisbury. Coming from a rural area, it was nice to take a break from the bustle of Oxford into the countryside.

Stone Henge is a truly remarkable site. The construction is baffling, not only in terms of the main circle of stones, but also the huge burial mounds which surround it.

Salisbury is also a lovely town. It has much flowing water through it. It is nice to see small English towns, as I have spent most of my time in London and Oxford. The cathedral there, shown in the photos, was astonishing. The ornate detail of gothic architecture is simply pleasing to my eyes. I would like to conclude with Thomas Hardy’s poem, “A Cathedral Facade at Midnight.”

A Cathedral Façade at Midnight

Along the sculptures of the western wall
I watched the moonlight creeping:
It moved as if it hardly moved at all
Inch by inch thinly peeping
Round on the pious figures of freestone, brought
And poised there when the Universe was wrought
To serve its centre, Earth, in mankind’s thought.

The lunar look skimmed scantly toe, breast, arm,
Then edged on slowly, slightly,
To shoulder, hand, face; till each austere form
Was blanched its whole length brightly
Of prophet, king, queen, cardinal in state,
That dead men’s tools had striven to simulate;
And the stiff images stood irradiate.

A frail moan from the martyred saints there set
Mid others of the erection
Against the breeze, seemed sighings of regret
At the ancient faith’s rejection
Under the sure, unhasting, steady stress
Of Reason’s movement, making meaningless.

 

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