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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.


Lacock Nunnery

By William Lisle Bowles (1762–1850)

I STOOD upon the stone where Ela lay,

The widowed founder of these ancient walls,

Where fancy still on meek devotion calls,

Marking the ivied arch and turret gray,—

For her soul’s rest—eternal rest—to pray;

Where visionary nuns yet seem to tread,

A pale dim troop, the cloisters of the dead,

Though twice three hundred years have flown away!

But when with silent step and pensive mien,

In weeds, as mourning for her sisters gone,

The mistress of this lone monastic scene

Came, and I heard her voice’s tender tone,

I said, Though centuries have rolled between,

One gentle, beauteous nun is left, on earth alone.