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Sweet ! sweet ! spikenard, and balm, and frankincense.
Speak, if there be a priest, a man of God,
But thou, O Lord,
THE TALKING OAK.
ONCE more the gate behind me falls ; Once more before
face I see the moulder'd Abbey-walls,
That stand within the chace.
Beyond the lodge the city lies,
Beneath its drift of smoke ;
I turn to yonder oak.
For when my passion first began,
Ere that, which in me burn’d, The love, that makes me thrice a man,
Could hope itself return'd ;
To yonder oak within the field
spoke without restraint, And with a larger faith appeal'd
Than Papist unto Saint.
For oft I talk'd with him apart,
And told him of my choice,
And answer'd with a voice.
Tho' what he whisper'd under Heaven
None else could understand ;
A babbler in the land.
But since I heard him make reply
Is many a weary hour ; 'Twere well to question him, and try
If yet he keeps the power.
Hail, hidden to the knees in fern,
Broad Oak of Sumner-chace, Whose topmost branches can discern
The roofs of Sumner-place !
Say thou, whereon I carved her name,
If ever maid or spouse, As fair as my Olivia, came
To rest beneath thy boughs.
“O Walter, I have shelter'd here
Whatever maiden grace The good old Summers, year by year,
Made ripe in Sumner-chace :
“Old Summers, when the monk was fat,
And, issuing shorn and sleek, Would twist his girdle tight, and pat
The girls upon the cheek,
“ Ere yet, in scorn of Peter's-pence,
And number'd bead, and shrift,
And turn'd the cowls adrift :
" And I have seen some score of those
Fresh faces, that would thrive
When his man-minded offset rose
To chase the deer at five ;
“ And all that from the town would stroll,
Till that wild wind made work
In which the gloomy brewer's soul
Went by me, like a stork :
“ The slight she-slips of loyal blood,
And others, passing praise, Strait-laced, but all-too-full in bud
For puritanic stays :