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

Wales: St. Asaph

Our Lady’s Well

By Felicia Hemans (1793–1835)

  • A beautiful spring in the woods near St. Asaph, formerly covered in with a chapel, now in ruins. It was dedicated to the Virgin, and, according to Pennant, much the resort of pilgrims.

  • FOUNT of the woods! thou art hid no more

    From heaven’s clear eye, as in time of yore.

    For the roof hath sunk from thy mossy walls,

    And the sun’s free glance on thy slumber falls;

    And the dim tree shadows across thee pass,

    As the boughs are swayed o’er thy silvery glass;

    And the reddening leaves to thy breast are blown,

    When the autumn wind hath a stormy tone;

    And thy bubbles rise to the flashing rain,—

    Bright fount! thou art nature’s own again!

    Fount of the vale! thou art sought no more

    By the pilgrim’s foot, as in time of yore,

    When he came from afar, his beads to tell,

    And to chant his hymn at Our Lady’s Well.

    There is heard no Ave through thy bowers,

    Thou art gleaming lone midst thy water flowers!

    But the herd may drink from thy gushing wave,

    And there may the reaper his forehead lave,

    And the woodman seeks thee not in vain,—

    Bright fount! thou art nature’s own again!

    Fount of the virgin’s ruined shrine!

    A voice that speaks of the past is thine!

    It mingles the tone of a thoughtful sigh

    With the notes that ring through the laughing sky;

    Midst the mirthful song of the summer bird,

    And the sound of the breeze, it will yet be heard!—

    Why is it that thus we may gaze on thee,

    To the brilliant sunshine sparkling free?

    ’T is that all on earth is of Time’s domain,—

    He hath made thee nature’s own again!

    Fount of the chapel with ages gray!

    Thou art springing freshly amidst decay;

    Thy rites are closed and thy cross lies low,

    And the changeful hours breathe o’er thee now.

    Yet if at thine altar one holy thought

    In man’s deep spirit of old hath wrought;

    If peace to the mourner hath here been given,

    Or prayer from a chastened heart to Heaven,—

    Be the spot still hallowed while Time shall reign,

    Who hath made thee nature’s own again!