"Ballade of Building"

Aelswith who built to the praise of Her
    Whose glory is most plain,
Walkelyn who founded Winchester
    To all men's after gain,
    Builders of Sarum, of Romsey fane,
Princes and priests long gone,
    Knew all that more than this was vain, —
'One stone on another stone.'

Bishop or queen, each labourer
    Builded in half disdain;
'What good', they said, 'though our word make stir
    Trowel and hod and crane?
    For this at best shall the work remain,
To teach one thing alone, —
    The marvel and might that sets with strain
One stone on another stone.'

It is told of the days when great deeds were
    That there was a king in Spain
Planned a church for his sepulchre;
    'Mid pomp of his whole demesne
    The second brick to the first was ta'en:
Then he ceased and from his throne
    Cried: 'Lo, be this the word of a reign,
One stone on another stone.'


Prince, dig and build and set in train
    Works, that thy name be known:
But only, at ending, of this be fain,
    One stone on another stone!

— Charles Williams, from Poems of Conformity.

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"A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion." — Proverbs 18:2