Dame Martha’s Well.

(After Christian Winther.)

Dame Martha bode in Sonderland,1
A good and gentle dame ;2
When the winter was long and the rich man
To her the poor folk came,4
The hungry ate out of her hand,5
The sickly took her bed ;6
And to the sinful wrong-doer7
Sweet words of peace she said.8
She was not rich in gold nor gear,9
But all might share her best :10
Silver nor gold she could not give,11
But the crust she gave was blest.12
There came fierce foemen from afar,13
Over the salt sea-tide,14
With fire and sword they laid full low15
The hamlets far and wide.16
She fled unto a lonely tower,17
To the sad kirkyard nigh,18
Only the owl from his dark lair19
Looked down with round bright eye.20
Hungry and thirsty she abode21
Unseen, apart from men22
Not a drop of all that she had given23
Was given to her again.24
But when the dark and bloody band25
Again forsook that shore,26
Dame Martha found her ruined house,27
And built it up once more.28
The hungry ate out of her hand,29
The sickly took her bed ;30
And to the sinful wrong-doer31
Sweet words of peace she said.32
The kirk bell sounded sad and low,33
Man, child, and woman wept ;34
Wearily to the sad kirkyard35
They bare her as she slept.36
And when they passed the lonely tower37
Where she in need had fled,38
The bearers set the black bier down,39
And prayed, and blessed the dead.40
And as they prayed with tearful eyes,41
There sprang beneath the bier,42
Out of the ground, a little well43
Of water, crystal clear.44
And still in rocky Sonderland,45
The village gossips tell,46
The sick may drink and straight be healed,47
Out of Dame Martha’s well.48
A woman carries a baby and walks with her eyes cast downward. She is part of a funeral procession. Several people walk behind the woman, most of whom are praying. The figures surround a coffin, which is mounted on wooden sticks and partially covered with a dark cloth. One man at the front of the procession holds his hat to his chest and bows his head. A building wall and its arched door decorate the background. There are plants, a fence, and a gravestone in the foreground. 3/4-page illustration contained within a single-ruled border.
God’s blessing on the gentle soul,49
Not rich in gold and gear,50
That in the midst of evil days51
Gleams up like water clear.52
Like crystal clear, the gentle soul53
Doth from the cold ground burst ;—54
God bless the little wayside well,55
Refreshing all that thirst !56