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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 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:

XIII. "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 worn;


"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;


"For those and theirs, by Nature's law,
Have faded long ago;

But in these latter springs I saw
Your own Olivia blow,


"From when she gambolled on the greens, A baby-germ, to when

The maiden blossoms of her teens
Could number five from ten.


"I swear, by leaf, and wind, and rain,
(And hear me with thine ears,)
That, though I circle in the grain
Five hundred rings of years-


"Yet, since I first could cast a shade,
Did never creature pass
So slightly, musically made,
So light upon the grass :


"For as to fairies, that will flit

To make the greensward fresh,
I hold them exquisitely knit,
But far too spare of flesh.”


O, hide thy knotted knees in fern,
And overlook the chace;
And from thy topmost branch discern
The roofs of Sumner-place.


But thou, whereon I carved her name,
That oft hast heard my vows,
Declare when last Olivia came
To sport beneath thy boughs.


"O yesterday, you know, the fair Was holden at the town;

Her father left his good arm-chair,
And rode his hunter down.


"And with him Albert came on his.
I looked at him with joy :
As cowslip unto oxlip is,

So seems she to the boy.


An hour had past—and, sitting straight
Within the low-wheeled chaise,
Her mother trundled to the gate
Behind the dappled grays.


"But, as for her, she stayed at home,
And on the roof she went,
And down the way you use to come
She looked with discontent.


"She left the novel half-uncut
Upon the rosewood shelf;
She left the new piano shut:
She could not please herself.


"Then ran she, gamesome as the colt, And livelier than a lark

She sent her voice through all the holt Before her, and the park.


"A light wind chased her on the wing,
And in the chase
grew wild,

As close as might be would he cling
About the darling child:


"But light as any wind that blows

So fleetly did she stir,

The flower, she touched on, dipt and rose, And turned to look at her.


"And here she came, and round me played,
And sang to me the whole
Of those three stanzas that
About my 'giant bole;'




"And in a fit of frolic mirth

She strove to span my waist:
Alas, I was so broad of girth,
I could not be embraced.


"I wished myself the fair young beech
That here beside me stands,

That round me, clasping each in each,
She might have locked her hands.


"Yet seemed 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,

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