'The Bee in Church' by Alfred Noyes
The nestling church at Ovingdean
Was fragrant as a hive in May;
And there was nobody within
To preach, or praise, or pray.
The sunlight slanted through the door,
And through the panes of painted glass,
When I stole in, alone, once more
To feel the ages pass.
Then, through the dim grey hush there droned
An echoing plain-song on the air,
As if some ghostly priest intoned
An old Gregorian there.
Saint Chrysostom could never lend
More honey to the heavenly Spring
Than seemed to murmur and ascend
On that invisible wing.
So small he was, I scarce could see
My girdled brown hierophant;
But only a Franciscan bee
In such a bass could chant.
His golden Latin rolled and boomed.
It swayed the altar flowers anew,
Till all that hive of worship bloomed
With dreams of sun and dew.
Ah, sweet Franciscan of the May,
Dear chaplain of the fairy queen,
You sent a singing heart away
That day, from Ovingdean.
Arthur Gilbert (1819–1895) was an English landscape painter.
Alfred Noyes (1880–1958) was an English poet.