'This noble and elegant site
is both a tribute to a family's
history, and to a national
heritage.' -Daniel J. Cassidy
Swifter far than summer's flight --
Swifter far than youth's delight --
Swifter far than happy night,
Art thou come and gone --
As the earth when leaves are dead,
As the night when sleep is sped,
As the heart when joy is fled,
I am left lone, alone.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
'The Last Walk' by Greg Benton, 2010
Let us then move
in discharge of
our mission and
and nothing else.
Sir Winston Churchill
Stanmer Churchyard, Sussex
In the midst of life we are in death:
of whom may we seek for succour,
but of thee, O Lord, who for our sins
art justly displeased?
Yet, O Lord God most holy,
O Lord most mighty, O holy and
most merciful Saviour, deliver us not
into the bitter pains of eternal death.
Burial Office, The Book of Common Prayer
Dixi, custodiam. Psalm xxxix.
LORD, let me know mine end,
and the number of my days; *
that I may be certified
how long I have to live.
Behold, thou hast made my
days as it were a span long,
and mine age is even as
nothing in respect of thee; *
and verily every man living
is altogether vanity.
For man walketh in a vain
shadow, and disquieteth
himself in vain; * he heapeth
up riches, and cannot tell
who shall gather them.
And now, Lord, what is my
hope? * truly my hope is even
Deliver me from all mine
offences; * and make me not
a rebuke unto the foolish.
When thou with rebukes dost
chasten man for sin, thou
makest his beauty to consume
away, like as it were a moth
fretting a garment: *
every man therefore is but
Hear my prayer, O Lord,
and with thine ears consider
my calling; * hold not thy
peace at my tears;
For I am a stranger with thee,
and a sojourner, * as all my
O spare me a little, that I
may recover my strength, *
before I go hence, and be no
JESUS said, Let not your
heart be troubled: ye believe
believe also in me. In my
Father's house are many
if it were not so, I would have
told you. I go to prepare a
place for you.
And if I go and prepare a
place for you, I will come again,
and receive you unto myself;
that where I am, there ye may
John xiv. 1.
Come, ye blessed children of
receive the kingdom prepared
for you from
the beginning of the
Honour all men.
Honour the King.
adversary the devil,
as a roaring lion,
seeking whom he
The Michaelmas Daisy
Culzean Castle, Ayrshire
Michaelmas is the 'season' that marks the beginning of things in autumn...
school terms, social calendars, re-newed leases and contracts and
the marking of diminishing daylight that leads oh so inevitably to
the 'darkness' of the winter months. The mornings are as crisp
as the fresh apples and the evenings cool. The leaves of autumn,
whose colour is brilliant against a changed sky, are falling and
the aroma in the air of that lovely smoke from the lingering
fires hovers neatly over the landscape.
When at school and university, I always found Michaelmas term and
this time of year to be the most enjoyable. Much like being sent off
to school as a boy by with new pencils and kit from Mum, this term
in the academic year begins with both anticipation and expectation
for new discoveries and success. There are many parties and
other gatherings where one meets new people, makes new friends,
and takes in a great array of sport and theatre; all mingled with
the usual informal and spontaneous events that are delightfully very merry.
This lasts generally until Hallowe'en and the realisation by November
that all the fun one was having in Michaelmas must come to an end
in order to meet the demands of reading lists and writing papers;
an often gloomy enterprise in the dark corner of one's study.
St. Michael the Archangel is the inspiration for the season. His
feast day is 29th September. Michael is principal guardian and
protector of the things of heaven and a warrior against evil;
usually depicted in art with his foot planted firmly on the head
of Satan. By analogy with the season, we are to remain
vigilant as we approach the darkness so that when
surrounded by that which keeps us from seeing 'the light'
around us, we remain steadfast, true and guard that light that
remains within us. One is reminded of John Henry Newman's
famous hymn written whilst he was ill in Italy and eager
to return home to England.
Lead kindly light amid the encircling gloom, lead Thou me on.
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.
Oâ€™er moor and fen, oâ€™er crag and torrent, till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
Have loved long since, and lost awhile!
Meantime, along the narrow rugged path, Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith, home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life
May we journey through Michaelmas and into the many shades
of darkness that are before us, with the confidence and strength as that
of Saint Michael, a warrior of heaven...feet firmly planted against evil's ugly
and oft-rearing head.
GE Benton, Michaelmas, originally posted in 2009
O give thanks to
the LORD, for he
is good; for his
Ode to Autumn
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
AUTUMN-LES FEUILLES MORT
|To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under