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

Woodspring Abbey

Woodspring Abbey

By William Lisle Bowles (1762–1850)

  • Three mailed men in Canterbury Cathedral rushed on the Archbishop of Canterbury, and murdered him before the altar. Conscience-stricken, they fled and built Woodspring Abbey, in the remote corner of Somersetshire, near Weston-super-Mare, where the land looks on the Atlantic Sea. There are three unknown graves on the Flat Holms.

  • THESE walls were built by men who did a deed

    Of blood;—terrific conscience day by day

    Followed, where’er their shadow seemed to stay,

    And still in thought they saw their victim bleed,

    Before God’s altar shrieking: pangs succeed,

    As dire upon their heart the deep sin lay,

    No tears of agony could wash away:

    Hence! to the land’s remotest limits speed!

    These walls are raised in vain, as vainly flows

    Contrition’s tear: earth, hide them, and thou sea,

    Which round the lone isle, where their bones repose,

    Dost sound forever, their sad requiem be

    In fancy’s ear, at pensive evening’s close

    Still murmuring Miserere Domine.