Almæ Matres

Original Text: 
The Poetical Works of Andrew Lang, ed. Mrs. Lang, 4 vols. (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1923): I, 3-5. British Library
(St. Andrews, 1862. Oxford, 1865)
1ST. ANDREWS by the northern sea,
2    A haunted town it is to me!
3A little city, worn and gray,
4    The gray North Ocean girds it round;
5And o'er the rocks, and up the bay,
6    The long sea-rollers surge and sound;
7And still the thin and biting spray
8    Drives down the melancholy street,
9And still endure, and still decay,
10    Towers that the salt winds vainly beat.
11Ghost-like and shadowy they stand
12Dim mirrored in the wet sea-sand.
13O ruined chapel! long ago
14    We loitered idly where the tall
15Fresh budded mountain ashes blow
16    Within thy desecrated wall:
17The tough roots rent the tomb below,
18    The April birds sang clamorous,
19We did not dream, we could not know,
20    How hardly fate would deal with us!
21O broken minster, looking forth
22    Beyond the bay, above the town!
23O winter of the kindly north,
24    O college of the scarlet gown,
25And shining sands beside the sea,
26    And stretch of links beyond the sand,
27Once more I watch you, and to me
28    It is as if I touched his hand!
29And therefore art thou yet more dear,
30    O little city, gray and sere,
31Though shrunken from thine ancient pride
32    And lonely by thy lonely sea,
34    Where Youth an hour came back to me!
35A land of waters green and clear,
36    Of willows and of poplars tall,
37And, in the spring-time of the year,
38    The white may breaking over all,
39And Pleasure quick to come at call.
40    And summer rides by marsh and wold,
41And autumn with her crimson pall
42    About the towers of Magdalen rolled;
43And strange enchantments from the past,
44    And memories of the friends of old,
45And strong Tradition, binding fast
46    The 'flying terms' with bands of gold, --
47All these hath Oxford: all are dear,
48    But dearer far the little town,
49The drifting surf, the wintry year,
50    The college of the scarlet gown,
51        St. Andrews by the northern sea,
52        That is a haunted town to me!


33] Isis: the Thames. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2001