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Poem by Charles Kingsley
There stood a low and ivied roof, As gazing rustics tell, In times of chivalry and song 'Yclept the holy well. Above the ivies' branchlets gray In glistening clusters shone; While round the base the grass-blades bright And spiry foxglove sprung. The brambles clung in graceful bands, Chequering the old gray stone With shining leaflets, whose bright face In autumn's tinting shone. Around the fountain's eastern base A babbling brooklet sped, With sleepy murmur purling soft Adown its gravelly bed. Within the cell the filmy ferns To woo the clear wave bent; And cushioned mosses to the stone Their quaint embroidery lent. The fountain's face lay still as glass- Save where the streamlet free Across the basin's gnarled lip Flowed ever silently. Above the well a little nook Once held, as rustics tell, All garland-decked, an image of The Lady of the Well. They tell of tales of mystery, Of darkling deeds of woe; But no! such doings might not brook The holy streamlet's flow. Oh tell me not of bitter thoughts, Of melancholy dreams, By that fair fount whose sunny wall Basks in the western beams. When last I saw that little stream, A form of light there stood, That seemed like a precious gem, Beneath that archway rude: And as I gazed with love and awe Upon that sylph-like thing, Methought that airy form must be The fairy of the spring.
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