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"I wish'd myself the fair young
That here beside me stands,
That round me, clasping each in each, She might have lock'd her hands.
"Yet seem'd the pressure thrice as sweet As woodbine's fragile hold,
Or when I feel about my feet
The berried briony fold."
O muffle round thy knees with fern,
And shadow Sumner-chace !
Long may thy topmost branch discern
The roofs of Sumner-place!
But tell me, did she read the name
I carved with many vows
When last with throbbing heart I came
To rest beneath thy boughs?
"O yes, she wander'd round and round
These knotted knees of mine,
And found, and kiss'd the name she found,
And sweetly murmur'd thine.
"A teardrop trembled from its source,
And down my surface crept.
My sense of touch is something coarse,
But I believe she wept.
“Then flush'd her cheek with rosy light,
She glanced across the plain;
But not a creature was in sight:
She kiss'd me once again.
"Her kisses were so close and kind,
That, trust me on my word,
Hard wood I am, and wrinkled rind,
But yet my sap was stirr'd:
“And even into my inmost ring
A pleasure I discern'd,
Like those blind motions of the Spring,
That show the year is turn'd.
Thrice-happy he that may caress
The cushions of whose touch may press
"I, rooted here among the groves,
But languidly adjust
My vapid vegetable loves
With anthers and with dust:
"For ah! the Dryad-days were brief
Whereof the poets talk,
When that, which breathes within the leaf,
Could slip its bark and walk.
"But could I, as in times foregone,
From spray, and branch, and stem, Have suck'd and gather'd into one
The life that spreads in them,
"She had not found me so remiss; But lightly issuing thro',
I would have paid her kiss for kiss
With usury thereto."
O flourish high, with leafy towers,
And overlook the lea,
Pursue thy loves among the bowers,
But leave thou mine to me.
O flourish, hidden deep in fern,
Old oak, I love thee well;
A thousand thanks for what I learn
And what remains to tell.
"'Tis little more: the day was warm;
At last, tired out with play,
She sank her head upon her arm,
And at my feet she lay.
"Her eyelids dropp'd their silken eaves.
I breathed upon her eyes
Thro' all the summer of my leaves
A welcome mix'd with sighs.
"I took the swarming sound of life—
The music from the town
The whispers of the drum and fife,
And lull'd them in my own,
"Sometimes I let a sunbeam slip
To light her shaded eye ;
A second flutter'd round her lip
Like a golden butterfly ;