An old man, dressed in shabby black, was seen leaning on a stile near Littlemore Church, in tears. It was Newman.
He leant upon a stile, noble, unkempt,
old and so weary, in a coat shabby and black-green,
he leant and wept, and I think he dreamt
of what had been
Then from the valley afar, yonder, a bell
sounded. He looked. There Oxford lay and slept:
Saint Mary's spire and Trinity and Oriel:
his own, so dear,
so much his own, so intimately dear;
so far, so near.
And he leant there and wept,
He had sought a perfect peace on earth,
and for its sake abandoned the old home;
Church, friends and pulpit, all he had held of worth,
exchanging Oxford's mirage for the gleam of Rome.
The gleam was spent,
and now he weeping leant
upon a stile,
remembering the past a little while
so here the old man wept and prayed,
beside the church which he himself had made
long years before.
He wept with white head bared.
Here he had stood vested before the altar then,
here had christened children now grown men;
here had at last despaired,
and seeking elsewhere peace, found war.
And now he wept and prayed alone,
ungreeted and unknown,
leaning upon a stile,
weeping for faces, loved, but lost awhile,
from They Shine Like Stars The Rev. Desmond Morse-Boycott, chapter VII: The Parting of Friends. Skeffington & Son, London 1947