Saturday, 11 August 2007

Ripon Cathedral.

Striking bronze pulpit.

The High Altar, screen by Sir Ninian Comper.

Saint Hilda in the screen.

The sedilia.

The Blessed Sacrament chapel, screen not by Comper. Over the altar, the cross you can see is one of those rare and wonderful things, a hanging Pyx.

Polychrome saints in the great screen before the Quire.

Ripon Cathedral is a wonderful place, slow, ponderous and still. Chill with stone but warmed by judicious use of copper and paint. I was reminded of a poem by Lewis Carroll, one time Archdeacon of Ripon and leading Tractarian when I saw a man sitting in a corner reading a book, looking for all the world as though he had been there all day.....


I LOVE the stillness of the wood:
I love the music of the rill:
I love to couch in pensive mood
Upon some silent hill. -
Scarce heard, beneath yon arching trees,
The silver-crested ripples pass;
And, like a mimic brook, the breeze
Whispers among the grass. -
Here from the world I win release,
Nor scorn of men, nor footstep rude,
Break in to mar the holy peace
Of this great solitude. -
Here may the silent tears I weep
Lull the vexed spirit into rest,
As infants sob themselves to sleep
Upon a mother's breast. -
But when the bitter hour is gone,
And the keen throbbing pangs are still,
Oh, sweetest then to couch alone
Upon some silent hill! -
To live in joys that once have been,
To put the cold world out of sight,
And deck life's drear and barren scene
With hues of rainbow-light. -
For what to man the gift of breath,
If sorrow be his lot below;
If all the day that ends in death
Be dark with clouds of woe? -
Shall the poor transport of an hour
Repay long years of sore distress-
The fragrance of a lonely flower
Make glad the wilderness? -
Ye golden hours of Life's young spring,
Of innocence, of love and truth!
Bright, beyond all imagining,
Thou fairy-dream of youth! -
I'd give all wealth that years have piled,
The slow result of Life's decay,
To be once more a little child
For one bright summer-day. -

Like all good Tractarian churches of course, it has been touched by the hand of Sir Ninian Comper, leading Anglo Catholic interior decorator!