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MY days among the dead are passed;
Around me I behold,
Where'er these casual eyes are cast,
The mighty minds of old;
With them I take delight in weal,
My cheeks have often been bedewed
My thoughts are with the dead; with them I live in long-past years;
Their virtues love, their faults condemn,
Partake their hopes and fears,
And from their lessons seek and find
My hopes are with the dead; anon
Through all futurity:
Yet leaving here a name, I trust,
THE WELL OF ST. KEYNE.
WELL there is in the west country, And a clearer one never was seen; There is not a wife in the west country But has heard of the well of St. Keyne.
An oak and an elm-tree stand beside,
And behind does an ash-tree grow; And a willow from the bank above Droops to the water below.
A traveller came to the well of St. Keyne;
For from cock-crow he had been travelling,
He drank of the water so cool and clear,
And he sat down upon the bank
Under the willow-tree.
There came a man from the neighbouring town, At the well to fill his pail;
On the well-side he rested it,
And he bade the stranger hail.
"Now, art thou a bachelor, stranger?" quoth he; "For an if thou hast a wife,
The happiest draught thou hast drank this day
"Or has thy good woman, if one thou hast, Ever here in Cornwall been?
For an if she have, I'll venture my life
She has drank of the well of St. Keyne."
"I have left a good woman who never was here,"
The stranger he made reply;
"But that my draught should be the better for that, I pray you answer me why."
"St. Keyne," quoth the Cornish man, Drank of this crystal well;
And before the angel summoned her,
"If the husband of this gifted well
For he shall be master for life.
"But if the wife should drink of it first,
The stranger stooped to the well of St. Keyne,
"You drank of the well I warrant betimes ?" He to the Cornish man said;
But the Cornish man smiled as the stranger spoke, And sheepishly shook his head.
"I hastened as soon as the wedding was done, And left my wife in the porch;
But i' faith she had been wiser than I,
For she took a bottle to church."
ASPAR was poor, and vice and want Had made his heart like stone: And Jaspar looked with envious eyes On riches not his own.
On plunder bent, abroad he went
No traveller came, he loitered long,
He sate him down beside the stream
He sate beneath a willow-tree,
Where pleasantly the moonbeam shone
Whose shadow on the stream below
He listened and he heard the wind
He listened for the traveller's tread,
He started up, and grasped a stake,
But Jaspar's threats and curses failed
He would not lightly yield the purse
Awhile he struggled, but he strove
With Jaspar's strength in vain ; Beneath his blows he fell and groaned, And never spake again.
Jaspar raised up the murdered man,
He cleansed his hands from blood.
The waters closed around the corpse,