(Sir Ingoldsby Bray Here gave way
To a feeling which prompted a word profane,
But he swallowed it down, by an effort, again,
And His Holiness luckily fancied his gulp a
Mere repetition of O mea culpa!)
“Thrice three times on Candlemas-day,
Between Vespers and Compline, Sir Ingoldsby Bray
Shall run round the Abbey, as best he may,
Subjecting his back To thump and to thwack,
Well and truly laid on by a bare-footed Friar,
With a stout cat o’ ninetails of whip-cord and wire,
And not he nor his heir Shall take, use or bear,
Any more from this day, The surname of Bray,
As being dishonour’d, but all issue male he has
Shall, with himself, go henceforth by an alias!
So his qualms of conscience at length shall cease,
And Page, Dame and Prior shall rest in peace!”
Sir Ingoldsby (now no longer Bray)
Is off like a shot away and away,
Over the brine To far Palestine,
To rummage and hunt over Ascalon plain
For the unburied bones of his victim slain.
“Look out, my Squire, Look nigher and nigher,
Look out for the corpse of a bare-footed Friar!
And pick up the arms and the legs of the dead,
And pick up his body and pick up his head!”
Ingoldsby Abbey is fair to see,
It hath manors a dozen, and royalties three,
With right of free-warren (whatever that be);
Rich pastures in front, and green woods in the rear,
All in full leaf at the right time of year;
About Christmas or so, they fall into the sear,
And the prospect, of course, becomes rather more drear;
But it’s really delightful in spring-time,—and near
The great gate Father Thames rolls sun-bright and clear.
Cobham woods to the right,—on the opposite shore
Landon Hill in the distance, ten miles off or more;
Then you’ve Milton and Gravesend behind—and before
You can see almost all the way down to the Nore.—
So charming a spot, It’s rarely one’s lot
To see, and when seen it’s as rarely forgot.
Yes, Ingoldsby Abbey is fair to see,
And its Monks and its Nuns are fifty and three,
And there they all stand each in their degree,
Drawn up in the front of their sacred abode,
Two by two in their regular mode,
While a funeral comes down the Rochester road,
Palmers twelve, from a foreign strand,
Cockle in hat and staff in hand,
Come marching in pairs, a holy band!
Little boys twelve, dressed all in white,
Each with his brazen censer bright,
And singing away with all his might,
Follow the Palmers—a goodly sight;
Next high in air Twelve Yeomen bear
On their sturdy backs, with a good deal of care,
A patent sarcophagus firmly rear’d
Of Spanish mahogany (not veneer’d),
And behind walks a Knight with a very long beard.
Close by his side Is a Friar, supplied
With a stout cat o’ ninetails of tough cow-hide,
While all sorts of queer men
Bring up the rear—Men-at-arms,
Nigger captives, and Bow-men and Spear-men.