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.