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ONCE more the gate behind me falls; Once more before


face I see the mouldered Abbey-walls,

That stand within the chace.


Beyond the lodge the city lies,

Beneath its drift of smoke ; And ah! with what delighted eyes

I turn to yonder oak !

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For when my passion first began,

Ere that which in me burned,
The love that makes me thrice a man,

Could hope itself returned ;


To yonder oak within the field

I spoke without restraint,
And with a larger faith appealed

Than Papist unto Saint.


For oft I talked with him apart,

And told him of my choice, Until he plagiarized a heart,

And answered with a voice.


Though what he whispered under Heaven

None else could understand; I found him garrulously given,

A babbler in the land.


But since I heard him make reply

Is many a weary hour; 'T were 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 sheltered 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 numbered bead, and shrift, Bluff Harry broke into the spence,

And turned 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:


« And I have shadowed many a group

Of beauties, that were born
In teacup-times of hood and hoop,

Or while the patch was wom;


“ And, leg and arm with love-knots gay,

About me leaped and laughed The modish Cupid of the day,

And shrilled his tinsel shaft.


“I swear (and else may

insects prick Each leaf into a gall) This girl, for whom your heart is sick,

Is three times worth them all;

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