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Poem by William Lisle Bowles


PURE fount, that, welling from the wooded hill,
Dost wander forth, as into lifes wide vale,
Thou to the traveller dost tell no tale
Of other years; a lone, unnoticed rill,
In thy forsaken track, unheard of men,
Melting thy own sweet music through the glen.
  Time was when other sounds and songs arose:
When oer the pensive scene, at evenings close,
The distant bell was heard; or the full chant
At morn came sounding high and jubilant;
Or, stealing on the wildered pilgrims way,
The moonlight Miserere died away,
Like all things earthly.
                        Stranger, mark the spot;
No echoes of the chiding world intrude.
The structure rose and vanished; solitude
Possessed the woods again; old Time forgot,
Passing to wider spoil, its place and name.
Since then, even as the clouds of yesterday,
Seven hundred years have wellnigh passed away;
No wreck remains of all its early pride;
Like its own orisons, its fame has died.
  But this pure fount, through rolling years the same,
Yet lifts its still small voice, like penitence,
Or lowly prayer. Then pass admonished hence,
Happy, thrice happy, if through good or ill,
Christian, thy heart respond to this forsaken rill.

William Lisle Bowles

William Lisle Bowles's other poems:
  1. Banwell Hill
  2. On the Funeral of Charles the First at Night, in St. Georges Chapel, Windsor
  3. Restoration of Malmesbury Abbey
  4. The Ancient Caleva
  5. Elegy Written at the Hot-Wells, Bristol

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