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"I, rooted here among the groves, But languidly adjust

My vapid vegetable loves

With anthers and with dust:


"For ah! my friend, the 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 sucked and gathered into one The life that spreads in them,


"She had not found me so remiss;
But lightly issuing through,
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 dropped their silken eaves,
I breathed upon her eyes
Through all the summer of my leaves
A welcome mixed with sighs.


"I took the swarming sound of life-
The music from the town-
The murmurs of the drum and fife,
And lulled them in my own.


"Sometimes I let a sunbeam slip,
To light her shaded eye;
A second fluttered round her lip
Like a golden butterfly ;


"A third would glimmer on her neck To make the necklace shine;

Another slid, a sunny fleck,

From head to ankle fine.


“Then close and dark my arms I spread,
And shadowed all her rest-
Dropt dews upon her golden head,
An acorn in her breast.


"But in a pet she started up,

And plucked it out, and drew My little oakling from the cup, And flung him in the dew.


"And yet it was a graceful gift— within

I felt a pang

As when I see the woodman lift
His axe to slay my kin.


"I shook him down because he was
The finest on the tree.

He lies beside thee on the grass.
O kiss him once for me!


"O kiss him twice and thrice for me,
That have no lips to kiss,
For never yet was oak on lea
Shall grow so fair as this.”


Step deeper yet in herb and fern, Look further through the chace, Spread upward till thy boughs discern The front of Sumner-place.


This fruit of thine by Love is blest,
That but a moment lay
Where fairer fruit of Love may rest
Some happy future day.


I kiss it twice, I kiss it thrice,
The warmth it thence shall win
To riper life may magnetize
The baby-oak within.


But thou, while kingdoms overset,
Or lapse from hand to hand,

Thy leaf shall never fail, nor yet
Thine acorn in the land.


May never saw dismember thee,
Nor wielded axe disjoint;
That art the fairest spoken tree
From here to Lizard-point.


O rock upon thy towery top
All throats that gurgle sweet!
All starry culmination drop
Balm-dews to bathe thy feet!


All grass of silky feather grow-
And while he sinks or swells
The full south-breeze around thee blow
The sound of minster bells.


The fat earth feed thy branchy root,
That under deeply strikes!

The northern morning o'er thee shoot,
High up, in silver spikes!


Nor ever lightning char thy grain,
But, rolling as in sleep,

Low thunders bring the mellow rain,
That makes thee broad and deep!


And hear me swear a solemn oath,
That only by thy side

Will I to Olive plight my troth,
And gain her for my bride.


And when my marriage-morn may fall,
She, Dryad-like, shall wear
Alternate leaf and acorn-ball
In wreath about her hair.


And I will work in prose and rhyme,
And praise thee more in both
Than bard has honored beech or lime,
Or that Thessalian growth


In which the swarthy ringdove sat,
And mystic sentence spoke;
And more than England honors that,
Thy famous brother-oak,


Wherein the younger Charles abode
Till all the paths were dim,
And far below the Roundhead rode,
And hummed a surly hymn.


Or love that never found his earthly close,
What sequel? Streaming eyes and breaking hearts?
Or all the same as if he had not been?
Not so.
Shall Error in the round of time
Still father Truth? O, shall the braggart shout
For some blind glimpse of freedom work itself
Through madness, hated by the wise, to law
System and empire? Sin itself be found
The cloudy porch oft opening on the Sun?
And only he, this wonder, dead, become



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