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When last with throbbing heart I came
To rest beneath thy boughs ?
“ O yes, she wandered round and round
These knotted knees of mine, And found, and kissed the name she found,
And sweetly murmured tbine.
“ A tear-drop trembled from its source,
And down my surface crept.
But I believe she wept.
6. Then flushed her cheek with rosy light,
She glanced across the plain; But not a creature was in sight:
She kissed me once again.
That, trust me on my word,
A pleasure I discerned,
That show the year is turned.
“ Thricc-happy he that may caress
The ringlet's waving balm-
The maiden's tender palm.
“ I, rooted here among the groves,
But languidly a just 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.
XLVIII. “ 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,
But lightly issuing through,
O flourish high, with leafy towers,
And overlook the lea,
But leave thou mine to me.
Old oak, I love thee well ;
And what remains to tell.
6 'Tis little more : the day was warm;
At last, tired out with play,
She sank her head
“ Her eyelids dropped their silken eaves,
I breathed upon her eyes
A welcome mixed with sigls.
The music from the town
And lulled them in my own.
“ Sometimes I let a sunbeam slip,
To light her shaded eye;
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.
LVII. “ Then close and dark my arms I spread,
And shadowed all her restDropt 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 giftI felt a pang
within As when I see the woodman lift
His axe to slay my kin.
The finest on the tree.
O kiss him once for me!
LXI. « 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.
That but a moment lay
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 band 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 !
And while he sinks or swells
The sound of minster bells.
The fat earth feed thy branchy root,
That under deeply strikes ! The northern morning o'er thee shooty
High up, in silver spikes !
Nor ever lightning char thy grain,
But, rolling as in sleep,
That makes thee broad and deep!
And hear me swear a solemn oath,
That only by thy side,
And gain her for my bride.