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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 :
6 Old Summers, when the monk was fat,
And, issuing shorn and sleek, Would twist his girdle tight, and pat The girls upon the cheek,
XII. “ Ere yet, in scorn of Peter's-pence,
And numbered bead, and shrift, Blufl' llarry 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;
XIV. “ 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
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)
Is three times worth them all ;
“ For those and theirs, by Nature's law,
Have faded long ago ;
Your own Olivia blow,
XX. “ From when she gambolled on the greens,
A baby-germ, to when
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.”
And overlook the chace;
The roofs of Sumner-place.
That oft hast heard my vows,
To sport beneath thy boughs.
XXVI. “ yesterday, you know, the fair
Was holden at the town;
Her father left his good arm-chair,
And rode his hunter down.
XXVII. " 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.
XXIX. “ But, as for her, she stayed at home,
And on the roof she went,
She looked with discontent.
XXX. “ 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,
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
About my.giant bole;'
XXXV. * 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,
She might have locked her hands.
XXXVII. “ Yet secmed the pressure thrice as sweet
As woodbine's fragile hold, Or when I feel about
feet The berried briony fold.”
O muffle round thy knces with fern,
And shadow Sumner-chace !
The roofs of Sumner-place!
But tell me, did she read the name
I carved with many vows,