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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII. 1876–79.

Denmark: Karisegaard

Dame Martha’s Fountain

By Bernhard Severin Ingemann (1789–1862)

DAME MARTHA dwelt at Karisegaard,

So many kind deeds she wrought:

If the winter were sharp, and the rich man hard,

Her gate the indigent sought.

With her hand the hungry she loved to feed,

To the sick she lent her aid,

The prisoner oft from his chains she freed,

And for souls of sinners she prayed.

But Denmark’s land was in peril dire:

The Swede around burnt and slew,

The castle of Martha they wrapped in fire;

To the church the good lady flew.

She dwelt in the tower both night and day,

There unto her none repaired;

’Neath the church-roof sat the dull owl gray,

And upon the good lady glared.

And in the Lord’s house she dwelt safe and content,

Till the foes their departure had ta’en;

Then back to her castle in ruins she went,

And bade it be builded again.

There found the houseless a cover once more,

And the mouths of the hungry bread;

But all in Karise by wept sore,

As soon as Dame Martha was dead.

And when the dame lay in her coffin and smiled,

So calm with her pallid face,

O, there was never so little a child

But was brought on her to gaze!

The bell on the day of the burial tolled,

And youth and age shed the tear;

And there was no man so weak and old

But helped to lift the bier.

And when they the bier set down for a space,

And rested upon the church road,

A fountain sprang forth in that very same place,

And there to this hour has it flowed.

God bless forever the pious soul!

Her blessings no lips can tell:

Oft straight have the sick become sound and whole

Who ’ve drank at Dame Martha’s well.

The tower yet stands with the gloomy nook,

Where Dame Martha sat of old;

Oft comes a stranger thereon to look,

And with joy hears the story told.