John Betjeman


The Church's Restoration
    In eighteen-eighty-three
Has left for contemplation
    Not what there used to be.
How well the ancient woodwork
    Looks round the Rect'ry hall,
Memorial of the good work
    Of him who plann'd it all.

He who took down the pew-ends
    And sold them anywhere
But kindly spared a few ends
    Work'd up into a chair.
O worthy persecution
    Of dust! O hue divine!
O cheerful substitution,
    Thou varnishéd pitch-pine!

Church furnishing! Church furnishing!
    Sing art and crafty praise!
He gave the brass for burnishing
    He gave the thick red baize,
He gave the new addition,
    Pull'd down the dull old aisle,
— To pave the sweet transition
    He gave th' encaustic tile.

Of marble brown and veinéd
    He did the pulpit make;
He order'd windows stainéd
    Light red and crimson lake.
Sing on, with hymns uproarious,
    Ye humble and aloof,
Look up! and oh how glorious
    He has restored the roof!