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


Nun’s Well, Brigham

By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

THE CATTLE, crowding round this beverage clear

To slake their thirst, with reckless hoofs have trod

The encircling turf into a barren clod,

Through which the waters creep, then disappear,

Born to be lost in Derwent, flowing near;

Yet o’er the brink, and round the limestone cell

Of the pure spring, (they call it the “Nun’s Well,”

Name that first struck by chance my startled ear,)

A tender spirit broods,—the pensive shade

Of ritual honors to this fountain paid

By hooded votaresses with saintly cheer;

Albeit oft the Virgin-Mother mild

Looked down with pity upon eyes beguiled

Into the shedding of “too soft a tear.”