St. Winifred's Well


"There sprang up on the spot a crystal stream, with sweet-smelling mosses around it, and red stones beneath the water."—Legend of St. Winifred.

Caradoc, son of Alen, the king,
Hath loved, and loved in vain.
He planneth a day of reckoning:
"Give heed, O maid! till thy death-knell ring!
Short shrift ere thou be slain."

Winifred's hair is yellow as corn,
Her eyes as the corn-flower blue;
She stood erect in the windy morn,
Baiting her lover with words of scorn,
Her heart to its kingdom true.

A prince's bride, or the bride of Death?
Scant time to make reply—
She hath flung his pearls on the bare brown heath,
And offered to Christ her latest breath,
And knelt on the sward to die.

The blow is cruel, and the blade is keen:
Her pure white soul hath fled.
By Bruno's altar on the green,
A blood-stained strip of moss between,
The martyr-maid lies dead.

Swift gurgled from the holy ground
A stream all silver-clear;
While whispering grasses gather 'round,
And strange-hued flowers bedeck the mound,
And song-birds hover near.

And still above the water's breast
Lingering the grasses wave,
And still beneath in tranquil rest
The blood-red pebbles closely press'd
Reveal a martyr's grave.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1925.

The author died in 1950, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 60 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.