Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 5/The robber saint

Illustrated by Frederic Shields.


In the far West, where the Lizard
Breaks the long Atlantic swell,
Low among the Cornish heather,
Good St. Keverne built his cell.

Hospitable was St. Keverne:
In his home the trav’ller stay’d—
Brother saint, or weary stranger,
Never vainly sought his aid.

Once, St. Just, from further westward,
Passing by St. Madron’s fount,
Came across through Marazion,
Near St. Michael’s holy mount.

Many days they pass’d together,
Talking much of holy deed,
How the Celt should fight the Saxon,
Till his Pagan hosts recede.

Then St. Just, with gentle sadness,
Bade unwillingly farewell,
Brightly did the tear-drops glisten
As he left that holy cell.

Good St. Keverne, on the morrow,
Long before the sun was up,
Going to take a draught of water,
Could not find his silver cup.

Ah,” said he, that wily brother
Carried off my only wealth:
Who would think St. Just, the pious,
Could take anything by stealth?”

Up he got in haste, and nimbly
Started off to catch the thief;
Over Browzas, down he hurried,
Fierce with anger—stung with grief.

There he found three stones of iron,
Weighing each a quarter ton,
Put them quickly in his pocket,
And began again to run.

Near St. Germoe’s ancient chapel
He o’ertook his crafty foe;
Then commenced a fearful battle,
Each saint dealing blow for blow.

Who knows how the fight had ended
Had St. Keverne been unarm’d?
But at sight of his huge missiles
Crafty Just became alarm’d.

So, for want of ammunition,
He, at length, was forced to yield;
Throwing down the stolen booty,
Quickly fled he from the field.

Then, rejoicing at the combat,
Mighty, brave, and good St Keverne,
Left the stones where still we find them,
Call’d the stones of Tremenheverne.

If, perchance, a thoughtless farmer
Tries to take those stones from thence,
Wanting to complete some hedge-row,
Or to mend some broken fence;

Useless is such toil and labour—
Not a day will they remain;
Put them where you will, the morrow
Finds them in their place again.