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


The Countess’ Pillar

By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

  • On the roadside between Penrith and Appleby there stands a pillar with the following inscription:—
  • “This pillar was erected, in the year 1656, by Anne Countess Dowager of Pembroke, &c., for a memorial of her last parting with her pious mother, Margaret Countess Dowager of Cumberland, on the 2d of April, 1616; in memory whereof she hath left an annuity of 4 l. to be distributed to the poor of the parish of Brougham, every 2d day of April forever, upon the stone table placed hard by. Laus Deo!”

  • WHILE the poor gather round, till the end of time

    May this bright flower of charity display

    Its bloom, unfolding at the appointed day;

    Flower than the loveliest of the vernal prime

    Lovelier, transplanted from heaven’s purest clime!

    “Charity never faileth”: on that creed,

    More than on written testament or deed,

    The pious lady built with hope sublime.

    Alms on this stone to be dealt out forever!

    “Laus Deo.” Many a stranger passing by

    Has with that parting mixed a filial sigh,

    Blest its humane memorial’s fond endeavor,

    And, fastening on those lines an eye tear-glazed,

    Has ended, though no clerk, with “God be praised!”